Many of us would love to believe that we belong to the group of enlightened souls who refuse to judge others based on their culture, race and background. But how many of us are actually ready to respect, have the interest and celebrate the unique beings we ALL are at a personal level?
5) Respect Individual Differences
Each of us come from very unique backgrounds – cultural and family environments vary even among people from the same country! The upbringing we experience within our family is also reflective about the exposure we may have enjoyed, to grow up in an enlightened and open minded environment.
6) Interest in Other Cultures
Learning and respecting other cultures not only enable us to be better members of society but it helps us be happier too.
If you have a respectable understanding about your neighbor’s anticipated traditional cultural festival, not only would you be able to appreciate your neighbor’s sentiments, but show greater awareness and respect towards an event that means a lot to them.
With regard to children, this is a particularly crucial learning for them in their growing years. Children who have little understanding or knowledge about other cultures or beliefs are more prone to insensitivity. Thus, bullies are often those who not only come from dysfunctional family backgrounds but grow up in an environment where there is little tolerance shown to people who are “different” from them. It could be on the basis of any difference, eg: culture, religion, race, language colour or even region.
7) Listen keenly – be an Interested Learner.
Many years ago, I came across a beautiful ancient Chinese story that conveyed the powerful role that listening plays in our life.
A king sent his son, the Prince, to a teacher to learn the basics of being a good ruler. The teacher, a man of few words, merely told the Prince on sight to go and live in a forest by himself and return to the teacher after one year. After a year, the young Prince returned to his teacher. His teacher asked to describe what he had seen or heard in the forest. The Prince eagerly described all that he had heard and experienced. His teacher, after listening to the Prince, quietly instructed him to return to the forest and return after he hears what he should.
Disappointed, the perplexed Prince returned to the forest and wondered just what his teacher was expecting him to hear. Days and weeks passed, until one day, the Prince was overjoyed to hear sounds he had not heard before. He heard the sound of the morning dew falling off the leaf, the flower buds opening in the morning sunshine and other significant yet barely audible sounds. Rushing back, the Prince shared what he heard with his teacher who nodded with approval. “Listening what is not obvious or the unheard is important to be a good leader:”, the wise teacher remarked.
Even to be a positive member of society, our willingness to listen plays a fundamental role in our ability to truly understand the person speaking to us and know their feelings and views. In some situations, the words someone exchanges with us may actually be superficial and communicate little. It is for us to understand and respond to the unspoken or the unheard with care and skill.
8) Look for Similarities & Respect Differences
The tolerance and attitude we have towards others plays a great role in our appreciation and regard for others. Their gender, age, race, culture, religious beliefs will play no role when we wish to credit them for their ability and determination to succeed.
Several years ago, I recall how keen I was to spot people who share my likes or possess similar personality traits with me. Today, fortunately, I have overcome that barrier I had made and that prevented me from actually getting to know some different but wonderful people. The key in enjoying the relationships in our life or learning from people comes from tolerance and patience. The more we are conscious of it, the more our life is enriched from meeting and knowing many people in our lives.
Keep life and relationships simple. Let us refuse to allow any prejudice or bias to complicate our life and more importantly take away the happiness we can otherwise enjoy.
Our appreciation of life is enhanced or negatively affected by our attitude towards people. Our acceptance that all we come across can enhance our existing knowledge, takes us a step closer to a wiser and happier life.