Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. — Albert Einstein
As I watched the imperfectly chaotic Mediterranean waves off the coast of Spain this summer, I came to a great realization: people are different.
Just like people, the waves of the ocean appear in many different colors, shapes and sizes, yet they are all beautifully composed of the same water.
It’s sounds like a simple and obvious thought, yet sometimes I don’t know if people actually realize and accept the fact that we are ALL different. People want other people to be like them. We love finding similarities with others because it’s comforting to be around people who are just like us.
But, in all honesty, expecting people to be so similar to you is outrageously unrealistic.
In fact, when you meet someone next, expect that person to be completely different from you. That way, you let go of all your false expectations and can learn to embrace other’s differences.
Admiring people’s differences should be an interest and a love of ours. After all, life would be boring if we were all the same. Wouldn’t the ocean not appear to be so beautiful and intriguing if all the waves were the exact same? Appreciate the different qualities that people have — both physical traits and personality-wise.
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When we meet new people, there are certain stereotypical assumptions that never fail to pop into our minds. We see somebody overweight and assume they don’t workout and are lazy. We see a woman with a very short haircut and masculine clothing and assume her sexual preference.
Assumptions happen. Frequently. But, the problem is…many people don’t make any effort to see if those assumptions are even true. They don’t make the effort to get to know someone and instead hold onto those assumptions as if they already know every little thing about that person.
We all judge. It’s a proven fact that judgements naturally occur in our minds before even getting to know somebody. That is okay. What is not okay is acting on those judgements and firmly believing them to be true.
There is a stark difference between understanding and assuming. Understanding takes effort. Assuming is an easy process that can be done within seconds.
Focus on making an actionable effort to understand others, rather than relying on your unreliable presumptions. Listen to people, learn who they are. True understanding of a person is blind.