Fostering a Culture of Awareness

Therapy in Bethesda, MD

When I take a look at all of the awareness and appreciation events filling up my calendar in the near future, I realize that October, in particular, is chock-full of them! This month is known for a wide variety of events that bring attention to a myriad of causes worldwide. I could rattle off more than 20 awareness topics and appreciation weeks that mark October as unique, but here are just a few: Breast Cancer Awareness (month), Down Syndrome Awareness (month), Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness (month), Dental Hygiene Awareness (month), Disability Employment Awareness (month), Domestic Violence Awareness (month), Mental Illness Awareness (week), Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness (month), World Mental Health (day), National Coming Out (day), Hunger Awareness (month), and even Vegetarian Awareness (month).

With so many things to commemorate and reflect upon, it may seem overwhelming to attempt to respond to the diverse needs of the people around you. But there’s good news! To your friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances who hold one or more of these awareness topics near and dear to their hearts, it doesn’t matter that you may not know the “right” thing to say or do. Largely what matters is that their unique identities, or the identities of people close to them, can be brought to the forefront of the public consciousness.

By allowing space for these identities and experiences, you can help foster a culture of awareness and appreciation. Here are a few tips you can use to contribute to an inclusive environment:

  • Show up. So much of life is just being there to support the people close to you. Your presence and solidarity may be worth more than any words you can say.
  • Use inclusive language. Be aware and respectful of the various identities and experiences around you.
  • Remain aware of your own privilege.
  • Identify your professional and personal areas as “safe spaces.”
  • Initiate contact to those who you know may be particularly affected by the awareness topics this month. Let them know that you’re thinking about them and are here if they need you.
  • Maintain a curious, not-knowing stance about others’ experiences. Remain humble and willing to learn.
  • Explore your own identities. There may come a point where you decide that you need additional support to process your past and present experiences. Seeking therapy from a professional can help you work through your own life story.

Regardless of how you choose to acknowledge the awareness and appreciation topics this month, these pointers will help you operate from a place of curiosity and acceptance. By utilizing them, you can create space for profound connections that have the potential to bring deeper meaning to all of our lives.

 

Shy Porter provides couple, family, and individual therapy at Lindsey Hoskins & Associates in downtown Bethesda, MD. Call or email today to set up a complimentary telephone consultation or initial appointment! shy@lindseyhoskins.com or 240-752-7650, ext. 6.