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My “Cooperative Problem Solving” group. Feeling included was what made me look forward to every minute of this class and Theo Joosten (ICASSI Co-chair), was the type of facilitator who knew the value of creating an air of inclusion.

Inclusive…
‘an intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who are handicapped or learning-disabled, or racial and sexual minorities.’

Have you ever booked a holiday or a mini-break and been very aware of what’s included in the package? Well, I know anytime I’m lucky enough to plan a holiday, I pay a lot of attention to what’s included as part of the deal!

If I’m booking two nights away for example, I like to have breakfast included on both mornings and it’s a bonus if dinner on the first night is included at a nominal cost.

It’s also encouraging if access to a gym or leisure centre is included at no extra cost as part of the package deal, although any of you who know a little about me will have guessed I’ll probably admire the gym from afar and spend more time relaxing in the sauna than strutting my stuff in the pool! But even so, it’s probably fair to say that inclusivity is important to me!

And maybe that’s why inclusitivity is important in other areas of my life. I’m always aware at any meeting or event of the importance of reaching out and helping others feel included. Just like I did at my recent ICASSI in Bonn. You might like to read about my ICASSI experience here Perfectly Imperfect

I seem to have a radar that helps me spot people who are just a little outside their comfort zone and I enjoy helping them feel at ease.

Years ago, for example, I was involved in setting up a local women’s club and a young mother, a non-national joined us. Most people there made polite conversation with this newly settled person to our rural community but none made a point of actively including her. As a result I tried a little harder to include her and I enjoyed getting to know this lady and watching her settle in and make friends as time went on.

Maybe it’s because I find people fascinating, or maybe it’s because I grew up in a three generational home where my Nana also loved being around people and included me in her frequent visits to neighbours and friends in our locality.

Or maybe it’s because I best describe myself as an introverted extrovert…yes, if you didn’t already know it, you can be both!

So, I like my own company and quiet time but I love people, I love being around people, I love getting to know people and I love people feeling included and being inclusive. This is probably because I hate walking into a social situation on my own. I’ve had to push through that feeling at ICASSI recently (as you can read above) and it’s encouraging to have overcome that challenge. But knowing how it feels for an introvert to face a gathering… of more than one person!… is important, as it gives me insight into what it’s like for anyone who finds themselves on the fringes of any social situations. I know, like me, they probably find it a bit intimidating at first until they find their feet!

So next time you consider a hotel break or wonder what’s included in that all inclusive package deal, spare a thought for inclusitivity in other areas of your life and spread a little of your warmth and social inclusion further afield!

Thanks for your company and for including me in your day! In what ways do you like to be included?  Have you ever felt excluded?  How did it make you feel? Have you ever gone out of your way to include or exclude others?

Much love,

Marie xx