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Bloom Into Your

Best Self. . .

June 2019

"I'm sorry" I said to my friend."It's okay, I'm just protective of these things""Thanks for checking me" I told her, as I mentally reflected on what

How To Remain Culturally Aware

Hello everyone, I am continuing to try to get back to the newsletter schedule of releasing the monthly issue on the Friday near the 15th of each month. Once again, I apologize for the delay, however I am still adjusting to the joys of mommyhood. Hopefully next month the newsletter will be released on the 12th. If not, as I have said before, you WILL get a newsletter that month, it just may not be as scheduled. Thanks so much for your patience and your subscriptions. Without further ado here is the newsletter for this month.

"I'm sorry" I said to my friend.
"It's okay, I'm just protective of these things"
"Thanks for checking me" I told her, as I mentally reflected on what I just realized was an inappropriate comment.

You see, I had made a comment that was offensive to my friend and her culture. Although I thought I was being sensitive in the way I made the comment, I wasn't, and it didn't land right with my friend. What's important here is not the specifics of what I said, but my ability to allow the correction to take place. By allowing space for correction, I allowed myself to REMAIN culturally aware. And that's what I want to talk with you all about today, things you can do to keep yourself culturally aware. So let's not pitter patter any further and get right to the tips.

Tip #1 - Allow the correction to settle in

When my friend corrected me, I not only heard the correction, but I truly allowed it to settle in. I meditated on it. Not just what my friend had said, but the look on her face when she said it. It was some subtle pain and frustration in her face, most likely from people continuing to make the same mistake I just made with their way of thinking. The preconceived judgments that took place about her culture. By allowing the correction she made with me settle in, I allowed myself to THINK about her correction well after our hangout. I thought about my comment, questioned my own internal bias, and accepted the fact that I too need to be corrected when looking and talking about culture.

It is important to allow the correction someone gives you to settle in. This may seem like a no brainer, but time and time again I have seen people be corrected and continue in the same behavior. That is because they HEAR the correction, but do not LISTEN to the correction. Those are two different things. To hear someone is simply to hear what they have said, but to listen is to actually give your attention to what is being said. In order to truly pay attention, you must focus on what is being said, it must settle in. So the next time someone corrects you on a cultural mistake, let it settle into your spirit. Don't just hear the words, listen to the experience of the person making the correction.

Tip #2 - Allow the correction to make you reflect

This may seem like the same tip as #1, but it's not. By reflect I mean for you to go deep, very deep in your thought. When my friend corrected me, I reflected on why I even made the comment AND where that preconceived judgment came from. I literally reflected back to my first experience with someone from that culture. I reflected on what made me feel safe enough to make such a comment to my friend, and what made her feel safe enough to correct me for making such a comment. I reflected on the fact that I didn't think the comment was offensive, UNTIL I thought about the comment from her perspective. I reflected that day, the next day, the next time I encountered someone from that culture, and I am reflecting as I write this newsletter.

Reflecting deeper on the correction can have a positive and lasting effect on your cultural awareness. When you allow yourself the think more deeply about the correction AND reflect on why you even needed to be corrected, you allow yourself to continue to step into the greatness of remaining culturally aware. Because the longer you reflect on something, the more engrained it becomes in you.

Tip #3 - Allow the correction to change you

Nearly 3 months later, I make it a point to not make the same mistake I made with the comment I said to my friend. I am being aware to not just avoid verbally make that comment, but to mentally avoid making that comment. You see, there is a difference in restraining from saying something and restraining from THINKING something. I don't think this needs to be broken down, but just in case here goes. . .

When you stop yourself from making a comment that you now have knowledge is offensive, the work doesn't stop there. Because if you simply reframe from making such verbal comments anymore, it really makes no difference if you still THINK that way. The change has to happen within, internally. So yes, don't make offensive comments, especially when you learn that something is offensive. But also, don't think offensive thoughts. Because being truly culturally aware, and REMAINING aware, happens when we self correct the offensive internal thoughts that no one knows about. Until July. . .
Snippet Of Next Month's Topic
Next month we will talk about a topic that is very important and serious in the Black community. It is also a topic that is very near and dear to my heart due to my own experience. I plan to shed light on this topic in hopes to help someone not feel alone. Take a read below at the snippet from next month's issue entitled "Miscarriage - An unspoken taboo in the Black Community"

"We should tell him what happened," My husband encouraged "he's really connected to the spirit."
"I don't know," I said as I pondered on sharing this vulnerable moment with a stranger, "he creeps me out a bit." I protested.
"He's a wise man, he's tapped in." My husband continued.

As we stood in the lobby trying to make a decision, we both admitted that we secretly hoped this man would come down the escalator, and almost in that moment the decision was made for us. There he was, the man who I felt nervous around, the man who was a stranger, but not really a stranger. He wasn't a stranger because. . .
Cultural Tidbits
This month I want you to think about yourself and how YOU can remain culturally aware. So I am only including one thing in the cultural tidbit section. It's a fairly simple article that is pretty common knowledge, but I feel it is a good reminder/refresher on how to stay culturally aware and sensitive.

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