There’s No Such Thing As Normal

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

~Mother Theresa

By passport and birth, I am Romanian. By soul, I am a citizen of the world. I’ve always been fascinated by cultures, traditions, mentalities, and different ways of doing things and perceiving the world. So when I got my first working contract in Sweden seven years ago, I embraced it with tremendous joy.

Four years later I took one of the biggest steps in my life and moved to Shanghai. I was an Eastern-European woman leading a Chinese team, in an entirely new environment, so different from anything I had experienced before.

Today, I am sharing these insights from my current home in South Korea, knowing that I will start a new, very exciting chapter of my life in Mexico in a few months.

Looking back on my life, I’ve come to realize I was very judgmental of others. I expected others to behave in certain predefined ways, and I stereotyped people based on their country of origin. For example, I assumed that all Italians would speak a lot and loudly. All Swedish would be blond and shy. All Greeks would be cheese lovers, and all Chinese were supposed to eat dog meat.

The truth is, I was putting labels on people and seeing the world in black and white. As if I was the only one holding the absolute truth and the “right” way of perceiving the world, and anything else was either strange or abnormal.

Cognitive distortions like labeling or stereotyping separate us and shut us down. When I was meeting the world with a “my way or no way” approach, I was stuck on my ego. My mind was too busy judging, so it had no time to listen or understand other points of view, and everything outside my comfort zone scared me.

Continue reading at: There’s No Such Thing as Normal (and Other Lessons from Living Abroad) – Tiny Buddha

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