The Way People Are

Written by on May 25, 2013 in Family - No comments | Print this page


diversityWe’re always told to “keep an open mind” and not let differences stand in the way of our relationships and communication with others.

Sometimes, however, it’s hard to really understand and appreciate the differences between you and other people. In order to really connect with others as human beings, here are some tips for understanding and appreciating the differences in all of us.

Find the Similarities

The differences between people are infinite, and sometimes they are so vast that it’s difficult to recognize that similarities exist, too. Even if on the surface you seem entirely different from someone else, if you look deeper, you can find similarities between yourself and anyone else.

There are always similarities, so try to find them. Instead of focusing on the differences that separate you, look for something you have in common. Finding these similarities help us connect to people and inspire greater appreciation for our differences.

Get the Backstory

When someone is very different from you, it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to understand their different experiences or opinions. You can’t always successfully “put yourself in their shoes.”

Assuming anything about anyone based on a noticeable difference can be a big mistake, because there are always hidden explanations for those differences. Instead of judging someone for a difference, learn more about it.

Why do they feel that way? What happened that made them that way? The backstory will put things into a more accurate perception.

Remember What’s Always the Same

There are some things that are true for almost all people, and it’s safe to assume that anyone you come in contact with, no matter how different they are from you, will have those same things about them.

For example, things that are physically painful will hurt just about everyone. We all bleed; we all experience a wide variety of emotions; we all have a basic desire to connect with other individuals and understand ourselves and the world around us.

Remember Why Differences are Great

If we were all exactly the same, the world would be a pretty boring and predictable place, and it we wouldn’t live in a society that’s anywhere near as advanced as it is today. “Diversity is the spice of life,” and our differences enable us to have a much richer experience.

Differences ensure that we have a full range of abilities, opinions, experiences, ideas, and more. Without those differences, we wouldn’t make as much progress as we can with them.

Find the Positive

Even if you can identify similarities between you and another person and learn the backstory to your differences, it doesn’t mean you’ll be in peaceful harmony. Even when we understand, it’s still possible to judge others in a negative light.

Instead of doing this, keep a positive attitude. Find what’s good about your differences and determine how they can be beneficial to you or the world in general. Optimism is the key to understanding and appreciating our differences.

Taylor Brown is a counselor and avid writer who loves to write and analyze the intricacies and differences in people and the way they interact with others.

Image courtesy of savit keawtavee /


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