Initiating conversations around Micro aggressions
What appears to be small, is in real sense BIG!
Micro aggressions are basically small and subtle acts of exclusion or misbehaviors. Example: cutting a particular individual from a group photograph, purposely pronouncing someone’s name wrong, being unfair in routine activities, excluding someone on purpose in a particular setting, disrespecting by not acknowledging the individual, making fun of an individual’s attire and many other such ways.
Game of Meanness
These micro aggressive acts are usually done with the intention to break a person’s self-belief and confidence. When people can’t handle an individual’s individuality, they resort to such petty activities, in order to make them appear less than others and also with the intention to humiliate and dis-respect them, so that they start doubting themselves and lack the confidence to shine their true light.
Micro aggressions are the mental games people try to engage you in, so that you lose focus from your goals. It’s the subtle act of detriment, where people lose their confidence to show up and rise. Even though they might be unintentionally executed at times, they still harm the individual concerned. Pointing out the offense can raise hackles but still it’s important to address this issue. Being constantly exposed to microaggressions can act as slow poisoning and thus dangerous for the individual in the long run.
Initiators of microaggressions usually defend themselves of excluding an individual by highlighting their intentions behind their acts but they fail to notice and take responsibility of the impact of their microaggressions on that individual. Speaking up and voicing against microaggressions can be hard but it truly is effective and necessary. It’s a moral responsibility to be fair and just. It’s a spiritual responsibility to voice what is vital and often ignored because of societal conditioning.
Speaking up and voicing against microaggressions
Make note of the following to have a decent and smooth conversation around microaggressions:
· Initiator: If you are the initiator and someone points you when you showed microaggression, instead of being defensive listen and try to understand the impact of your actions and then resolve to correct it. Continuing with the same negative attitude of microaggression will not let you develop healthy relationships and will also prevent you from achieving the success and happiness you deserve.
· Subject: If you are the recipient of the negative micro aggressive acts, don’t take things personally, voice the injustice. Remember, whatever the other person does to you, has nothing to do with you, it simply is a reflection of their insecurities and fear that they are dumping on you. We cannot change people in our strength and our timeline always, but we can take the initiative to work on it without needing to prove ourselves correct and without any revenge from our side, but with the only intention to save people from destruction caused by petty behavioral patterns. Small minds cannot understand greatness and you have nothing to prove them. However, creating awareness is needed for making people responsible and accountable.
· Witness: When you witness any micro-aggressive acts, voice your non-acceptance and support the subject in gaining justice. Don’t be silent on the things that matter. Your voice counts and you have the power to confront and achieve justice. Disrupting some of the downgrading patterns surrounding biased behaviors is a service to humanity. Never let the problem creators go unchecked. Inculcate a culture of constructive criticism where the issues are raised in a decent, kind and fair manner. Where equality and not biases is the foundation of decisions. Where truth prevails and not falsehood.
· Dignity: Dignity should be the end and means of finding a solution and conveying it to the concerned parties. No offensive behavior must be entertained in the process.
· Civility: Civility is what people need to learn in the current scenario. People are losing their moral ground and behaving recklessly. Some believe being thick-skinned means tolerating the wrong doings of others with patience. However, if thoughtfulness is infused in our culture and the more people practice it diligently, the fast the transformation towards a structured and culturally strong society emerges.
Honour is not for a select few. It’s equally deserved by all irrespective of their background, religion, educational and financial status, etc. No religion teaches to disrespect an individual’s sense of identity. This is a practice chosen by people who operate based on their personal insecurities and shallow mindedness. It takes courage to play fair with integrity as the basis of operation whether it relates to personal or professional life. Your actions reveal who you are more than the words you choose to speak. Mindfulness is an art of practicing humanity at core level and not just when its comfortable to do so. When you treat people fairly and respectfully you show the world that you are confident about yourself from within and not just on a superficial level. Establish an environment of manners and morals; be more concerned about practicing principles rather than gaining false sense of security.