One of the most crucial components to becoming an effective therapist is being able to authentically relate to others’ thoughts and feelings. Naturally, we relate most easily to others that we share more commonalities with. Studies show that individuals are more likely to distinguish relationships with others that have similar levels of attractiveness, personality dynamics, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status. We are naturally attracted to those that are similar to us; the more commonalities two people share the more likely they will relate and connect on a more intimate level.
The more different two people are in their cultural background or belief systems the more difficulty they will have understanding one another. I was raised in a household where we were taught not to see the differences amongst others’ ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or family background. I can always remember my mother expressing to me when I was young to always treat others the way you would want to be treated and that everyone should be treated equally. I learned by observing my parents’ value systems of kindness, openness, and respect for human beings how others should be treated. As I grew older, I came to realize more and more that everyone wasn’t raised with the same moral values, and that the world wasn’t always as kind as the small town I grew up in and knew.
The moral codes and cultural beliefs we are raised with shape how we can understand or relate to others of varying backgrounds. As a therapist, I consider my ability to relate to others my most significant strength. I have always been compelled to figure other people out, and the more different someone is from me the more intrigued I am to understand why or how. I was raised to see the world through color-blind lenses and to demonstrate general respect and kindness towards others, which has enabled me to pursue friendships and interactions with people of greatly differing cultural and familial backgrounds than my own. When we choose not to open ourselves up to others that may not look, act, or dress the same way we do, we are essentially doing a disservice to ourselves. Everyone walks a different path in life; each experience we have enriches our knowledge base or understanding of the world.
We as human beings are meant to learn from each other and gain knowledge or understanding of the world. Everyone is on this Earth to fulfill their own calling and to grace the world with their presence. There will always be someone who hasn’t had the same experiences or wisdom that you have; by choosing not to connect or attempt to know someone who may be different than ourselves, we are choosing to not enlighten ourselves as individuals. No matter what someone’s profession, educational background, or ethnicity we have all had different life experiences and should learn from each other because of such. Open your mind to learning from others that are different than you, and you will enlighten and broaden your understanding of the world. ~R
“Whatever your particular calling, you are meant to grace the world with your dance.” ~Captivating