Recognize and honor that the values of others in the community may be different than yours.
A healthy community is made up of a variety of individuals and families, all with their own set of beliefs and values. In fact, America was founded on the idea of being able to have your own beliefs. Unfortunately, our cultural climate has become one of intolerance for and anger towards those who don’t agree with us or have different beliefs.
This lack of tolerance goes against the Constitution of the United States, what we stand for as Americans, religious teachings and what is right. We have created a culture where people don’t want to (or afraid to) have their beliefs challenged.
This intolerance has isolated many in our community who aren’t in line with “traditional” values. It has created anger and fear towards those who differ and drives them out of our communities which then creates a homogenous, single minded, anti-progressive society.
We have so much to learn from those that are different than us, as well as sharing our own viewpoints with. True diversity within the community can enhance and possibly change our own opinions and beliefs, which can be a very good thing.
The world is constantly changing and we need to embrace that diversity and change within our own areas for our own immediate health and prosperity and for the longevity of our communities.
How to honor these differences:
Here are some steps we can all use to become more tolerant of others with differing opinions and embrace those with values that aren’t like our own:
- Seek to understand different views. Before trying to change others’ views and opinions, understand that they come from different backgrounds, different social and family groups and different cultures, religions or have different beliefs than you. Try and understand these differences and where they come from and possibly learn from them.
- Never say the other person is wrong based on your own ideas. You may believe that the person you are dealing with is wrong. Don’t forget that they probably think you are wrong as well. There is no wrong or right, just different.
- Seek a way to learn from others’ opinions and educate yourself so you fully understand your own opinions. Don’t be afraid to learn from others, just because you don’t agree with them at first, doesn’t mean that you both can’t learn from each other. In addition, be knowledgeable about your own opinions; don’t just go with what others are telling you.
- Always remember that you might be wrong.
- Remember that our communities need diversity to flourish and that our nation was built upon the freedom to have our own individual set of values and beliefs, and be able to express those beliefs without harm or discrimination.
Simply listen. Understand that others may disagree with you and you may disagree with them and that is OK.