Written by: Jenora Ledbetter, President and Founder of The Self Care Network LLC
When you think about the month of February, what are some things that come to mind? Maybe the observance of Black History month? Or flowers, chocolates, giant stuffed bears with balloons attached-associated with the holiday of “love”? Here’s a fun fact-February is not only dedicated to passion and tenderness, but it is also considered the month of “purification” as well. Purification can have different definitions - one is ‘the removal of contaminants from something.’ Another is ‘the process of making something spiritually or ceremonially clean,’ example given: ‘purification of the mind through reflection and contemplation.
Allow me to pick your brain for a moment. Ask yourself this-what does Black History month mean to you? Is it just another acknowledgement? Is it something that you celebrate or involve yourself in? And if not, have you ever thought about how you could participate or what role you might play in bringing more awareness to this observance of Diversity? When you think about love-what does it mean to you? Do you participate in loving your friends/family? I know that was an easy question, so let me give you a little more of a challenge. Do you show acts of love/kindness towards your co-workers? If so-do you exhibit these acts of love to ALL of your colleagues, or do you (even if secretly) pick and choose?
Here’s another question: Do you practice loving your neighbor? Or strangers? The diverse individuals that look different than you, that talk differently than you? Or maybe the ones that even smell differently than you? How about the ones that wear different clothes from you-ones that might wear a Hijab or Kippah?
At the end of the day, whether internally, externally, or both-I think we have all been guilty at some point of not properly, genuinely, loving others. We as humans are susceptible to allowing our selfish human nature to get in the way of many things, including our growth-not only as individuals, but as a whole. As Certified Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultants, -we understand that these issues may arise. We delight in offering advice, as well as tools and resources to help not only businesses flourish, but individuals as well.
Love, in and of itself, is a choice. It is a commitment, and a responsibility. Thomas Merton said, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.
In practicing loving others, without question-we shall reestablish a sense of purification as well as create a true harmony among ourselves. As humans, we should welcome the individuality of everyone we come in contact with and appreciate the beauty of Diversity that this beautiful world has granted us.