Everyday Mindfulness: How To Deal With Workplace Discrimination

A mindful approach has been shown to be instrumental in helping people who are regularly the target of workplace discrimination. But what about those of us tackling socially acceptable prejudice on a daily basis, can mindfulness help us too? From a lower paycheck to being overlooked for promotion, mindfulness provides us with valuable tools for dealing with animosity.

Most women have experienced discrimination of one form or another in the workplace. More than a few men will also admit to feeling victimised in certain situations here as well. This archaic environment, where ruthlessness equates to success and failure is intolerable, is not designed for equality. Being mindful of that fact can go a long way towards helping you identify the types of prejudice that exist here. Understanding the motives of others, as well as our own reactions to particular situations, can be essential in safeguarding our interests.

Overcoming animosity, whether you are the butt of the office joke or considered incapable, is all about being aware and in the moment. When you experience discrimination, take the time to analyse the situation. What are the motives of those involved? What emotions are driving their reactions? How are you expected to handle the situation? Remain calm, consider your goal for the present and focus on the best way to achieve it. That might be politely asking the other party to reevaluate their opinion, or forcing them to consider you in a new light through the quality of your work.

Whatever path you take, don’t hold a grudge. Don’t dissect previous conversations or try to analyse your feelings as negative or positive. Accept what has happened, trust that you handled it well and move on. Establishing an adverse opinion of a person or group only means you will end up taking your own particular brand of prejudice into your next communication with them. And that’s no way to overcome discrimination.

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Latest update: March 29, 2015