Opening our hearts and minds to others means making the effort to go beyond where we come from, where we live, what we look like and what we believe in – and ultimately embracing and celebrating the diversity of the human soul.
Imagine a world where different perspectives, cultures and values are not just accepted, but celebrated. We sincerely believe in embracing diversity – it’s the glue of humanity. Have you ever seen a young child meet someone for the first time? They feel shy, perhaps; usually curious; but certainly not judgmental. They haven’t had time to develop the kind of prejudices that can limit our lives.
Now think about what happens to us as we get older and more conscious of ourselves and others: we often shy away from those we perceive as ‘different’ – we make all kinds of assumptions, often based on opinions we’ve formed over time without even realising it. When we cross the road to avoid a group of strangers; when we speak to an old person as we would to a child; when we assume a person in a wheelchair has cognitive issues – all of these things stop us from embracing diversity.
But if we look beyond where we come from, where we live, what we look like or what we believe in, we usually find that at heart we aren’t so different at all – we all want to be happy, we want the security of home, to be loved and respected, and we all want to exist peacefully and safely in the world. But how do we get past those initial prejudices we’re occasionally guilty of?
Celebrating our differences
As humans, we show ourselves to each other in so many ways: through our intelligence, our age, our abilities, the language we speak, our race, our politics, values, philosophy, gender and religion, among other characteristics. These things help us navigate our way through life, to make sense of our world, and define who we are.
They even help us find our ‘tribe’. It’s natural to be drawn to people like ourselves – think about our groups of friends: we’re usually not so very different from each other. We often share the same values and culture. But we’re never just one of these things – say, our race, values, gender or age – but a complex combination of many. Once we look at others like this, we can begin to open our hearts and minds more fully to the world.
That guy with the tattoos might also be a yoga-loving mathematician; the woman in the hijab might be a high-powered lawyer for human rights. Looking beyond our initial judgments is the only way to find out. We can work towards this by opening our hearts close to home. Within the safety of our comfort zones, our challenge is to look past our preconceived ideas about those who are not the ‘same’ as us.
We believe that if we dare to look around with curiosity instead of prejudice, our hearts will inevitably open as we discover the incredible diversity of the human soul. Life can be so much richer as a result.
For more articles like this one, stop by your favourite Rituals store and pick up a copy of our Winter Magazine—a collector’s item filled with inspirational stories about opening your heart, delicious recipes and much more.