Using Kindness to Overcome Unconscious Bias

How do you overcome unconscious bias? Kindness is the answer. When you commit to be kind, you approach every human interaction with that commitment foremost in mind. Then, when an unconscious bias suddenly appears, it collides with your commitment to be kind, creating dissonance within you. Reflect on that dissonance. Your unconscious bias will gradually become conscious and you will see how and why that bias is at odds with the kindness you commit to show others.

If you’re truly committed to be kind, that commitment will override any unconscious bias that would motivate you to marginalize. For example, what if you are a person with an unconscious age bias. As a result, you don’t take children seriously or truly listen when they speak. Rather, you have a tendency to patronize, interrupt, and think about dispensing your superior wisdom. The next time you interact with a child, a beautiful collision will take place because of your commitment to be kind.

1. Commit to be kind in every human interaction

2. Create a prompt to remind you of your commitment, such as a screensaver.

3. Consciously practice your commitment.

4. Review your interactions immediately after you have them. Ask yourself: Was I kind? How could I be more kind? Did I feel a temptation to be unkind? If so, why?

5. Acknowledge your now-conscious bias and resolve to overcome it.

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