An excerpt from Why Mindfulness is the Answer to Unconscious Bias by John Davisi
We all have tales. We carry them around with us wherever we go, repeating them to ourselves and others over and over. TALE stands for:
Triggers are those buttons we all have inside us. For each button, there’s someone in our life who knows how to push it. When we’re triggered, we often have an emotional response that is more heightened than the situation warrants. Think about how you feel when you get cut off in traffic and you get my gist. But the key here is that those buttons have been in us well before the latest person showed up to push them. I know that when I’m triggered, it has very little to do with the other person. It’s an indicator of something I get to look at inside myself as an opportunity for learning, growing, and healing.
We make Assumptions about every person we come into contact with. You’ve been making assumptions about me while reading this article. But the truth is, most of our assumptions are based on past experiences, and have nothing to do with the person you are interacting with in the present moment. Surrendering those assumptions and focusing on the person in the present allow me to be open to understanding who they are and what they need. It invites a new possibility to reveal itself that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen.
We hold Limiting Beliefs about ourselves and others without ever having experienced them personally. These beliefs are often seeded in the conditioning we’ve received over the course of our lives from family, friends, religion, history, and societal pressures. When I notice a limiting belief inside myself, I ask myself the question, “How true is this for me and why do I believe it’s true?” I can then surrender it and return my attention and intention to the present moment interaction, with an openness and gratitude that the bias filter has been removed.
For every relationship label we assign to someone (romantic or not), we automatically have numerous expectations of that person in order for them to fit that mold and make us happy. We also have a list of Expectations we feel we need to fulfill for them. The minute one of us falls down on the job, we get triggered. When I take the space in the moment to understand what my expectations are, I tend to notice that I expect others to behave the way I would. If I’m judging someone because they aren’t doing something exactly the way I’d do it, I’m denying their skills and talents. I’m not seeing or hearing them. I’m also denying the opportunity for their individual gifts to positively impact me.
We may never be able to eliminate bias, but using mindfulness to take the space in the moment to understand our TALE’s helps us make our unconscious bias, conscious. Then we have the opportunity to make a different choice.
Why Mindfulness is the Answer to Unconscious Bias
BY John Davisi
Davisi, John. "Why Mindfulness is the Answer to Unconscious Bias." Mindful Leader. 19 June 2019. 23 Sept. 2019 <https://www.mindfulleader.org/blog/26600-why-mindfulness-is-the-answer-to?utm_source=Mindful%2BLeader%2BNewsletter&utm_campaign=4dbe0d09ff-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_05_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fc20865065-4dbe0d09ff-183757629&mc_cid=4dbe0d09ff&mc_eid=25523fbc8c>.
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I chose this article because I think it is important to understand where our thoughts come from, whether we purposefully think them or not. Recognizing thoughts and feelings that we have and why we have them is the first step to getting them under control.