What do you feel threatened by? It’s a simple question to understand but a difficult one to answer. As long as we remain within our comfort zones, meeting people like ourselves and remaining in situations that maintain that every day familiarity, we are safe.
I truly admire those people who embrace new challenges and welcome people of different beliefs in to their lives. There are many of them out there. They are the people who choose to live life how it is meant to be lived. I admire their ability to throw away our instinct to judge, and to love a person purely for who they are. Just because someone comes under the same general beliefs of a certain group – be it religious, political or cultural, we should not simply presume that each and every one of them are exactly the same. Every individual carries his or her own personality, and until one allows them to enter in to their lives, how can we judge them?
People from all walks of life are guilty of this neglect. I can confidently admit that it is far easier to live my life without the intrusion of new people and new situations. But I can also confidently admit that this pattern of life does not challenge my human ability to interact and engage with new possibilities – something that I am coming to realise as a necessary part of life. Promoting my autobiography has forced me in to new, intimidating situations, yet the chance to meet people from different walks of life and to awaken the otherwise dormant instinct to interact with the human race has enabled me to push my intellect in a completely different direction.
Yet allowing different experiences and people in to our lives is almost always voluntary. We must put ourselves in to the types of situations that will allow us to truly live. And what better challenge than to put yourself amongst new, diverse people who will provide exciting or challenging experiences.
So how does the ordinary man on the street do this? We can’t all do something extraordinary and transform our lives in to a whirlwind of new people and experiences. But we can give up some of our time and join a book club: new people, challenging discussions. Voluntary work for a charity will guarantee new experiences and allow interaction with people from all sorts of backgrounds as well as people with different abilities. If your interest is religion, join a group that offers cultural diversity. Having meaningful conversations with people from other faiths really does open up fascinating dialogue!
So let’s be brave and check in with our human ability to face challenges. Change threatens us. Different beliefs threaten us. We are all capable of making our lives far more interesting so let’s fight the resistance to change and embrace diversity.
Be secure in your own way of life and respect how others live by creating opportunities for human contact. Eradicate the notion of threat and transform it in to an exciting opportunity. Definitely a win win situation!