“It’s not differences that divide us. It’s our judgments about each other that do.”- Margaret Wheatley
We are the dividers, not our differences. We are social animals. We cannot survive without associating ourselves with the right people. We need good friends, we need good coworkers, and we need good neighbors.
On the other hand, if you have some terrible people around you, don’t judge them. Try to understand why they are behaving the way they behave. As I wrote in one of my previous articles, people communicate in different ways. Before we judge them, before we run away from them, before we call them toxic people, before we call them lazy people, before we call them uncooperative people, take a wide deep breath to understand them.
If you want to know people, if you want to understand certain behavior, move closer to them. Don’t distance yourself from them, don’t look at them from afar. Move closer to them, eat with them, play honestly with them, have a one-on-one conversation with them. Sometimes, we are waiting for the next guy to take the first bold step. Don’t wait for the other guy to make the move, you start it. The other guy will follow you.
We can bridge the gap by doing some of the following things:
Reach out to your friends, or family members that you haven’t heard from. They need you. You need them. Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to people that will help you grow. Reach out to people that will encourage you. DON’T stay around people that make you look really, really small. Don’t just run away, make them understand why you want to stay away. Maybe telling them will change their mind.
Question your decisions, question your viewpoints. Don’t judge the world through your own narrow lens. The world is bigger than how you look at it. Take the time to understand other people’s view points before you tear them apart. Be proactive in dealing with people. We are social animals with emotions.
“Be proactive in dealing with people.”
When you are having a conversation with people from other cultures (even in your own culture), discipline yourself to listen actively. Don’t judge before you speak. Listen before you speak. Understand before you speak. Listen to understand the person you are having a conversation with- not to judge him/her. The problem we have in our current society is that we don’t listen to understand anymore. Instead, we listen to talk. If you want to understand someone, you have to listen to understand this person, not to inflate your ego, and not to show what you know.
If you want to understand me, if you want to know who I really am, listen to me, understand me, don’t judge me. If you judge me, you are judging yourself.
Change your mindset. Why is it important? Why is it important to change our minds if we are to understand others? Because everything starts in the mind. The way you think about people dictates your actions. Your thoughts control your actions. For example, if you think certain people are bad, there is nothing they can do to change your mind. It is only you that can change the situation by changing your mind.
Finally, enroll yourself at the University of Tolerance, to study Tolerance 101. In order to understand people’s behavior, you should be able to live with them. You should be able to tolerate their behavior. If not, keep trying.
If you want to know people, listen to them. Don’t judge them. If you judge them, you are judging yourself. Let’s learn to live together in good health and in harmony.