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.
Getting to truly know a new person who we may feel is quite different to us can be a very rewarding experience. It’s true that when we’re looking to make friends or start relationships that 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.
Be Prepared to Listen
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 to be effective communicators. Take Kofi Annan at the UN for instance.
He holds one of the world’s most powerful positions when it comes to mediating between powerful people from different countries often with major differences in opinion but he’s good at what he does as he’s a good listener and, in effective communication, it’s listening that’s often the key.
Take time to listen to other’s opinions and acknowledge them and also be confident to express your own. Listening to other’s 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 a 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.
If people become more tolerant towards others and take time to get to know some of those with whom they were unfamiliar with previously, it would lead to a far more peaceful and understanding world and, ultimately when considering your own self-growth, an acceptance of other people’s differences is a sure-fire way of gaining a more complete acceptance of yourself.
Benefits of Being Open 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 and this helps us to grow spiritually, instead of stagnating.
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.