As humans, we are hard wired to be connected to one another. And this connection happens in lots of ways. We are connected by touch. We are connected by cohabitation. We are connected by a common goal, such as at work or on a team. We are even connected to each other when we are driving. Not to freak anyone out but have you ever thought about how much trust you are putting into ALL of the other drivers on the road?
But one other very important, very simple, and often overlooked way we stay connected is through language and by this I simply mean the words we chose to use to talk to one another.
Let’s use a team as an example. When you are part of a team, you tend to use the collective pronouns, such as us and we and they and them. Now, there may be times when you will use the singular pronoun, I or me, to talk about your own specific roles, duties, and responsibilities, but even then, you are trying to do your best so that your team has a greater chance of success.
If you are a good teammate, the end goal shouldn’t be only about YOUR personal glory. If you’re a good teammate, the end goal shouldn’t be only about YOU reaching your personal best. If you are a good teammate, the end goal shouldn’t only be about YOU. If you are a good teammate, the end goal should only and always about US, about the team, about the collective. The end goal should only and always about the team winning, together, as a single unit. And it is only here that everyone is included.
Let’s face it, we have all watched a team fail miserably if one team member just doesn’t show up, either literally or figuratively. Maybe that team member is sick. Or preoccupied. Or too busy worrying about themselves to think about what’s best for the team. Think back to group projects in school and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
So what happens if we take this example of team and apply it to our personal relationships. What happens if we start to use we and us instead of I and me? Using the collective pronouns automatically fosters an environment of connection and oneness.
If a professional says, “we will xyz (or whatever)”, you will immediately feel like you guys are in this together and that you are included and that your thoughts and opinions matter. On the other hand, if a professional says, “I will xyz (or whatever)” it is clear that this person is operating in a silo where you have little to no input and that you are not included and that your thoughts and options don’t matter. There is simply no room for you. And that feels yucky.
So trying using inclusive words like we and us and see what happens. See how it makes you feel and how it makes others feel. My guess is you will begin feel much more connected to those around you. And you, yes YOU deserve to feel included. And you, yes YOU can make a difference by including others.
So mine your light and be inclusive.