We all are unique because we are shaped by our own values, beliefs, norms, convictions, principles, rules, standards, and needs. They are often very deeply rooted in our minds and hearts. And because of that, it is hard for some of us to understand that other people see the world differently than us.
The way we perceive the world, we give meanings to things, emotions are formed in the cultures we come from, our heritage, in our personal experiences in life, references, and even in our current state of mind.
For some people happiness means building their own families, for others, earning their first million dollars, or making a terrific career, while for others happiness is having good health. The same counts for respect. Some, feel respected when people look into their eyes while they are talking to them; for others, when people never argue with them and, even more, they always agree with them. And for other people, respect is getting kindness from everyone with no exception.
The same goes for love. Some people need to hear “I love you” from their partner three times a day, in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. Others see love as cuddling and receiving affection. Other people feel loved when they receive gifts on a regular basis. And we feel love when we give it to others, one or another way. The list of examples can go on and on.
Not everyone realizes that we are able to change our beliefs, rules, values, needs, and so on. In fact, often we have to change them in order to adapt to new circumstances and new stages in life. All of them have been serving us for years, until today, but when we open our minds, we may discover that it is time to change some of them.
Some rich people hardly spend money on things that give them pleasure. It may be that their parents didn’t have enough money, and they were always limiting their spendings, and now they do the same. In fact, I was coaching a man who said that he didn’t like to spend money and he earned pretty well. He noticed that his son, a successful entrepreneur, also had the same limitations. During our session, he explained that his parents had never spent money that easily because they didn’t have it. Now he understood that it was time to change his and his son’s way how they spend money and finally enjoy it.
Some values, convictions, and beliefs are imposed in our minds consciously, and others subconsciously. For example, if a child, vulnerable at that time, was never allowed to give his or her own opinion, or even was punished for doing so, he or she, may be afraid to share their own opinion as a young adult. Or a woman may think that she has ugly legs, because she heard that 20 years back from one guy who she liked a lot, and this is stuck in her mind. Or a young adult is afraid to start his or her own career because at high school his teacher told him that he would never succeed in anything. They may even forget those episodes, but the convictions are in their subconscious minds.
As you can see, we all have our own way how we look at the world around us, how we perceive our personal values, experiences, and things. And that’s why it is highly important to understand each others’ perspectives. If people close to us do not know our perspectives, or we don’t know theirs, we may experience miscommunication or misinterpretation, which may further lead to unnecessary disagreements or even tensions. It’s very important to be able to understand situations from the point of view of the other, and it has nothing to do with being right or wrong. It is about a good understanding of each other, respecting each other’s perspectives, and having effective communication.
When we respect the beliefs, values, principles, rules, standards, and needs of others, then they will most likely respect ours.
That’s why, if we don’t know the perspective of another person who we live with, socialize with, work with, we should ask them for their perspectives to learn and understand them better. We should never assume! And on the other side, we should let them know about how we see things. When we respect the beliefs, values, principles, rules, standards, and needs of others, then they will most likely respect ours. A mutual appreciation for sharing our perspectives will most likely come automatically. If we yet disagree on something, that’s okay. Let’s be honest and open, and let’s talk about it.
Being able to step into someone else’s shoes, recognizing their different perspectives, opens the door for more opinions and options. It also brings more trust, compassion, and empathy. And we should not judge other people, but just listen to them to understand them. This will enable us to react to things differently, the way we might have not seen before. We may learn something new. We may discover new resources and make better decisions. We may even notice our flaws, or we may find out that our way of thinking, our rules, convictions, need to be changed.
In conclusion, our uniqueness is our identity and our beauty. Let’s be open-minded and let’s recognize and respect the uniqueness of others. Let’s allow people to share their own opinions, let’s listen to them attentively, let’s understand their perspectives. When we do so, they will feel more comfortable with us, and we will better socialize with each other. We will get their sympathy and kindness, and kindness attracts kindness. They will appreciate that we hear them. When we actively listen, we learn and grow. And understanding other people’s perspectives will eventually contribute to our success.