the inspiration blog

daily inspiration: embracing difference

Posted on: March 16, 2011

You’ve heard endless talk about how we should appreciate diversity, right? Whether it’s gender, race, class, etc., we all know that we’re supposed to treat everyone equally. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Why? Because it’s habit to place people in boxes. In fact, this is a survival mechanism: if we know who someone is, we can quickly decide if, based on whatever factors are important to us, they are “safe,” or even in some sense “desirable.” This self-protection is learned through society and our family of origin. But it doesn’t help us walk the talk that most of us believe is essential: that we should embrace others, no matter how different.

Action: Today, notice someone you encounter who, in some obvious or subtle way, is different than you. Notice if you slightly pull away. Whether it’s someone you know well or a stranger, ask that person a specific question about themselves, to find out what their experience of the world is.

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