I am learning that love and understanding are skills that are learned and strengthened. We are all incredibly different people.

  • Our views differ
  • Our opinions differ
  • Our lifestyles differ
  • Our cultures differ

Being that we have all grown up differently and navigate the world in different ways- we have created a pair of lenses that are incapable of seeing other perceptions of life.

I came to this realization most intensely during a college Anthropology course. Being in a field like Anthropology involves more than digging up old histories, it also involves digging up the meaning of cultural and lifestyle differences.

I remember a video we had to watch in which a woman discussed her experience learning the culture in Iraq.

As someone from the states, with a predominately American lifestyle, the way of life in Iraq came as a shock to her.

However, due to her profession and her duty, she had to enter this foreign place with an empty mind and clean slate.

She visited an Iraq home where the rights of a woman were far different than they are in the U.S. She sat, observed, and took her own beliefs out of the equation. It was only then that she was able to become one with this culture and see it from the eyes of someone who had no past beliefs. It was as if she was just placed on earth, with no recollection of how life should and should not be. 

Her discoveries allowed her to go back to the American troops and inform them of the ways of the Iraq people so that they would not offend or frighten them.

As I watched the video, I was in awe of how easily this woman was able to remove her way of life from her conscience- when many would speak out and judge.

If you think about it, we are blind to the rest of the world due to our cultural ignorance.

We see people from different cultures eating slugs and hear about women from Asian countries who have their feet removed at a young age to be carried as royalty and cringe, but to them, it is normal. Religion, specifically, is one of the most prominent aspects of a culture that molds the rituals and beliefs taught from birth.

Even within countries, there are cultural differences. For example, in the U.S., people from the Northeast have a much different way of life than those in the Southwest.

This does not make one person’s way of living “right,” and another’s “wrong.” It is the way they have always lived, and often, their normal seems like the right way of life when really there is no such thing.

Everyone is different.

Everyone sees the world differently.

The moment we STOP announcing our way of life as the “right” way and view the rest as the “wrong”- we can lead with love, understanding, and respect for people and cultures different from us.

Read also:
Every Day Is A New Day
Reading For Empathy
The Women We Forget, But Shouldn’t