Why is it important to respect differences and be more accepting?

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

No two individuals are identical, and it's not just about appearances; it holds true about human nature as well. Nonetheless, some people seldom fail to understand this. What they lack is a very crucial trait — Acceptance. They are not ready to accept that the things they conveniently refer to as 'flaws' are not 'flaws' in reality -- well, in most cases. Rather, they are just 'differences'! How difficult is that to take in?

All things considered, this is something that I have been meaning to talk (or, rant) about for quite a while now. Having lived for almost three decades, I have interacted with a pretty good deal of people. While I am not much of a conversationalist, I am good at observing people. This implies more often than not, I can make out numerous things about a person without even having to interact with them in the first place. The ubiquitous take away from all that I have seen is that the way a person carries on in or reacts to a circumstance is NOT a result of what he feels at that point in time. Instead, it is a collective outcome of his upbringing, his childhood, the kind of life he has led till now, and the experiences he has had in his life, especially the gravest ones. Suppose, the way he behaves in a particular situation at hand is not the way I would expect him to behave. Rather, it is precisely the opposite of how I would have acted. My first reaction would be, “What the heck is he doing?”, or “Had he gone mad?” — something like this. On the other hand, the person will still think about his conduct as right or generally adept for that situation…There is no way to decide whose behaviour is right -- mine or his. So, it’s better to let it be until and unless there is no harm caused.

Do you realise that the way we spend our childhood primarily impacts the sort of individual we become when we grow up? You could know a person during his adulthood, yet you probably won’t think a lot about his/her childhood. Each of us has been raised in different environments. Some might have experienced a difficult childhood, might be because of single parenting, or say, lack of resources. In contrast, some might have led a privileged childhood because of sound financial status, availability of everything on the silver platter. And because of that, people might have been conditioned to act or behave a particular way in certain situations, owing to their conditions. As a result, we grow up imagining that whatever we do, or however we act is the aptest. We disregard what other people have to say about it. For that very reason, we start judging others too -- which is wrong. At least, I feel so. For instance, when we meet people in their adulthood or say, much later down the road, we don't give much thought to the kind of life they have lived or have been living. Therefore, as soon as we start noticing the differences in opinions or any difference of such sort, we consider it as 'not right' in some sense. We consider those to be as 'imperfections’ without stepping into their shoes for a second. That is exactly where most of us are 'imperfect' ourselves.

Not only childhood encounters, but general experiences also shape us how we are. Experiences at any point in life, such as failures, success, struggles, travelling, heartbreaks, and everything there is, characterise us. I unequivocally believe that we are all made up of experiences. These experiences could be in any sphere of our life, such as career, relationships, business, academics, etc. Shouldn't we reconsider before calling someone names such as miser, extravagant, introvert, extrovert, loud, rude, indecisive, and so on? We may call a person 'loud', but for a loud person, we could likewise be the one who is 'over-polite' all the time. Correspondingly, we may call a person 'quiet' or 'introvert, but for an introvert, we could likewise be the one who is 'continually talking'. My point being - we can term neither of them as a 'flaw'. It's a difference, never a flaw.

My two cents - as long as people's choices, opinions, or decisions do not cause us significant harm, it's in every case better to not fret about it. Respecting that people are different, and not flawed will presumably solve pretty much every interpersonal issue in our lives.


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