Accepting Other People's Differences


Everyone is a product of their own experiences and upbringing, and so it makes sense that each of us will have our own opinions across all kinds of issues. While most of us acknowledge that it is these very differences between us that make the world an exciting and interesting place, these variances in our viewpoints can also lead to problems. It is essential for people to learn to be tolerant of diversity, and being open minded towards the lifestyles and beliefs of others has a major role to play in making the world a happier place.

Prejudice in Today's Modern World

Whereas in the past many people remained within their own communities, rarely if ever meeting anyone from outside their regular social circle, today the world has become a much smaller place. With the advent of low cost air travel paired with the power of the internet and the media, increasing numbers of people are now being brought into contact with cultures and people far beyond their realm of personal experience. This exposure to different religions, belief systems, lifestyles and languages can enrich our lives if we let it, however unfortunately some people fail to embrace this change and instead view it as a threat. It can be hard to be open minded when faced with things that we do not understand, but in order to be comfortable about the differences of others, we must first be comfortable in our own skins and accept ourselves for who we are. Sadly, those who are not able to do this mistrust those who do not conform to what they believe to be “the norm”. Those who have a different skin colour, sexuality or religion can be feared and it is this lack of understanding that can lead to unrest in communities and, on a worldwide scale, to warfare and terrorism.

Why We Should be More Open to Others?

Our communities would be a much better place to live if we could all be more open to others, respecting the differences and similarities between all of the community's members. The benefits of tolerance are clear to see – by embracing our diversity we can learn more about our world and ourselves in turn, enabling us to grow and thrive spiritually. The doors to a multitude of opportunities can also be opened, with new friendships, business contacts and travel possibilities all being revealed. The key to this beneficial tolerance is to understand how important it is to understand that each one of us has a right to our own opinion and respect for everyone's individual viewpoint is essential, even if we cannot agree with it.

How Can we Promote Tolerance?

To build happier, more tolerant communities, the first step is to treat everyone we encounter with the same level of respect that we would expect for ourselves. Rather than fearing our differences, we must embrace them, avoiding making judgements based on the first impression. If we all take more time to get to know someone, we will often discover more similarities between us than may appear to exist on the surface. Getting to know those who are very different to ourselves can be surprisingly rewarding, and if we move away from the mindset that persuades us to only gravitate towards those who are similar to ourselves, we open ourselves up to more interesting social experiences. Improving our communication skills is at the heart of tolerance – not only talking and expressing ourselves effectively, but also listening and taking the time to acknowledge the opinions of others. We need to appreciate that there is nothing to fear in hearing the opinions of others, as it is perfectly possible to do so without changing your own viewpoint. Often, those who are mature enough to hear diverse opinions find that a new light is shed on issues that they thought were cut and dried. If we could all be more tolerant towards those who are different to ourselves, our world would be a much more understanding and peaceful place, and on an individual level, we would all be spiritually richer for embracing diverse cultural experiences and getting to know those whose scope of experience is completely different to our own.