Different people are no less human

When we judge people we have no time to love them. One day as I was walking in the city of Bulawayo I met this old man. In a very respectful manner, I asked him where I could get taxis to go to a certain suburb. The old man looked at me with disgust and then gave me directions to go to a rank where I could get buses to Harare because I didn’t belong there. This incident happened about 10 years ago but whenever I think of it, I can’t help but feel sorry for the old man. For him to be so tribal, must have been so hard on him.

After I relocated to South Africa I also noted a lot of divisions, among different cultures and ethnic groups. It is very sad to realize that human beings still consider others less human because of their differences.

How can we tackle this?

  • Instead of judging people, how about, we become curious to learn about them? To put ourselves in their shoes and try to imagine what they are going through. Instead of trying to change them, how about, we try to understand them?
  • Let us accept one another as we are, knowing that we are all human. We need to remind ourselves that we ought to allow others to live their lives the way they want. Everybody is going through something therefore let us be kind to one another. Let us be of service to one another and show empathy and make each other feel accepted.
  • Most of the time when we feel annoyed by other people, we need an internal shift, not an external one. It is a futile effort to try and change everybody we meet. But a simple internal shift can help us to be happy with everyone we meet. If we try to change everyone we meet we will be frustrated and disappointed. We may not be able to control external phenomena but we can clearly control our minds.
  • We need to understand that as human beings we are all different. We are all the products of our own individual upbringing and experiences so it is completely natural that we will all have differences in opinions on a wide range of issues. The world would be a very dull place if we were all the same and it’s the incredible diversity among people throughout the world that makes it such a fascinating place.

What the future requires

Globalization is increasingly bringing us together with people from many different ethnicities religious backgrounds, languages, cultures, and belief systems. Unfortunately, many people put up barriers to protect themselves instead of opening themselves up to others. When we get to learn about others and respect our similarities and our differences, we get to learn so much more about the world and about ourselves. It also opens the doors to many other opportunities, be they friendships, work prospects, travel possibilities, or a wider understanding of the world in which we live.

Remember, even identical twins have their own individual experiences and opinions and you probably don’t agree with everything your parents or children say but do that necessarily compromise you?

There are many things we can do to move towards accepting other people’s opinions and respecting our differences. At a very basic level, we should treat others with the same degree of respect as we would like to be treated ourselves. We should embrace our differences, not be afraid of them and we should never judge a person on our first impression which is often about how he or she looks. Taking the time to get to know the person within is a far better indicator than pre-judging them on appearances alone.

1. Get to know people

Getting to truly know a new person who we may feel is quite different from us can be a very rewarding experience. It’s true that when we’re looking to make friends or start relationships we tend to gravitate towards people we believe are similar in outlook to ourselves but in restricting ourselves to that mindset, we can often miss out on many interesting experiences.

2. Listen to others

Communication isn’t simply about talking. In fact, some of the best communicators on the world stage tend to be less ‘vocal’ than we might think they’d need to be for them to be effective communicators.  The major key to effective communication is about listening.

Take time to listen to others’ opinions and acknowledge them and also be confident to express your own. Listening to others’ opinions doesn’t mean you have to deviate from your own firmly held viewpoint. Although a diverse opinion to your own can sometimes make you think about things in a different light. This is all part of the maturing of the mind. It’s not about convincing others that you are right or about them convincing you that they’re right but simply a matter of being understood and an acceptance that you might agree to disagree.

People should become more tolerant towards others and take time to get to know unfamiliar people. This leads to a far more peaceful and understanding world. Ultimately when considering your own self-growth, an acceptance of other people’s differences is a surefire way of gaining a more complete acceptance of yourself.

When you try putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, it helps you understand their beliefs, feelings, experiences, and intentions. We can empathize and think about things from another point of view.

Diversity gives us wisdom

Social diversity in a group can cause discomfort but being around people who are different from us makes us learn more and become wiser. It also helps with innovation and creativity. Diversity provokes thought.

I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on diversity so please, leave a comment for me below, and if you found this useful, please share it with others.

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