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John Lennon’s favourite soft skill

Why do we still “imagine all the people, livin’ life in peace” instead of experiencing it?

Photo by BERTRAND MORITZ on Unsplash

“Oh no. It is my turn to present my homework in front of the whole class. What if I start sweating again? What if I mumble and lose my words and everyone laughs at me? My heart rate is rising again. Okay, Nadia, remember what your psychologist said when a panic attack strikes; take deep breaths and count to ten, count 5 things you can see… What can you see? I see everyone staring at me. No-no, this is NOT how that works.

If only my classmates knew how difficult this presentation is for me. If only they understood how much I struggle with anxiety…Maybe then they wouldn’t laugh at my shaking hands…”

“Every time I return from school I always spend some time gazing at this new dance studio and take a quick glimpse of people dancing. I have seen children younger than me performing impressive hip-hop moves, old ladies dancing the tango with their partners, and teenagers, such as myself, expressing themselves through freestyle dance. No one can understand how desperately I want to join. But of course, I would never dare to even pass the front door. Who wouldn’t stare at the teenage chubby boy? There is no room for me in dancing studios… I would be clumsy- and God knows what would happen if I accidentally stepped on my partner’s feet.

No, I will continue dancing in my room, in the shadows, alone… I wish people would be more open to diversity…”

“Every day during gym time, my classmates play basketball. They pick teams, the gym teacher gives them the basketball, and they are ready to begin. If someone doesn’t want to play, they can watch and cheer for their favourite team- or even play another sport. I usually sit in my corner, doing nothing. I wish I wasn’t so shy. If I weren’t, I would go and ask to join them. I love basketball so much; every afternoon I go to the court to shoot some shots, all by myself. And I never miss! If only I had better social skills… I could even join the school’s basketball team. My classmates know that I am not sociable, so they assume I am not interested in playing with them.

I just wish someone would care and be kind enough to ask me. To help me, by making the first step. It is not that easy for everyone…”

What is the message behind these three stories? Inclusivity.

Inclusivity is a soft skill that refers to creating an environment, where all people are truly welcomed, valued, and respected — for all of who they are — regardless of differences. Let us highlight this. It’s not about putting up with people who are different, but rather about full acceptance. In an inclusive environment, people don’t feel that they need to hide part of their true selves in order to truly belong.

Yes, we have a long way to go. But we can start making changes daily. How? Let’s smile and cheer for the nervous girl who is about to present her homework. Let’s invite the boy who always looks from the window, but leaves with his head down, to enter the dance studio. Let’s ask the lonely classmate if he would like to join the next basketball game. Let’s show interest and kindness to people, regardless of what their attitude or appearance is like. Let’s accept one another- and truly mean it.

For us it could be nothing, for someone else, it might mean the world.



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