Have you ever looked around the room and noticed that everyone looked just like you? There’s something about that experience that’s a bit boring and alarming. When we’re only surrounded by people who look the same and act the same as we do, we really miss out on the beauty that is diversity.
Our differences are what make us stronger, better people. Did you know that many people somehow think they’re not beautiful, just because they don’t fit the “American ideal” of what physical beauty is? If we could embrace our differences and break down cultural and ideological barriers, we could wrap our arms around one another and let each other know that our differences are what make us beautiful, and our appearance is simply how we express ourselves.
Prejudice – A Major Barrier to Inclusion
Unfortunately, prejudice is still something that has to be actively worked against. Whether it’s due to cultural misunderstanding, stereotypes or any other kind of mistrust that’s developed between different people groups, lots of people put up walls in the form of prejudice. This is why we often end up in groups of people who are exactly like us. If we could become more aware of our prejudices and take steps to break down the walls we’ve put up, we could open ourselves up to some of the most beautiful people and experiences we may have never experienced before.
Communication – The Cornerstone of Inclusion
In many cases, we don’t understand other people because we don’t take the time to listen to them. We have to acknowledge that other people have different perspectives and opinions than we do and that it can be an extremely enlightening thing to actually listen to those opinions without judging first. There’s no need to convince someone to think like you, just listen and then express your opinion back – respectfully.
We’ll never understand what’s so beautiful about our differences if we don’t communicate with people who are actually different from us. Without real communication, we’re just operating on stereotypes. The most important part of communicating is not the talking, it’s the listening.
Get Out There and Connect!
Overwhelmed by the idea of diversifying your life? Don’t be! Diversity can be all around us if we just look for it or put ourselves in the right places. Commit to going out of your comfort zone and seeking out situations where you know it won’t just be people “like you.”
Festivals and conferences can be a great way to network with people, learn about them and have fun. Just make sure any event you go to embraces diversity and celebrates differences. We love the Beautycon Festivals because of their focus on the beauty in connecting diverse communities, so that could be a great place to start.
Self-Growth – A Beautiful Thing
If we can shift our mindset from thinking that our differences are just something we should tolerate in each other, to knowing that our differences are a major strength, we will mature and grow in an amazing way.
An incredible by-product of embracing our differences is the opportunity to understand more about yourself and to grow from that experience. The more knowledge and awareness we have of ourselves, the more we can truly appreciate all that we have to offer and the more we will understand that we are more than just our appearance, we’re an integral part of the diversity in our communities.
When you learn to respect others and make an effort to understand them, you’re honoring yourself and them, and that’s a beautiful thing.
ALL IMAGES FROM DESIGN SCENE STYLE: Patricia & Sophie in Form by Sylwia Szyplik