02:06:47 pm on January 28, 2010 |
Somebody said to me the other day: “I hate the way (xyz) people speak. It is aggressive and rude.”
We all express ourselves differently. Often when something or someone is really unlike what we are used to, we pass judgment.
A new immigrant who is learning English may speak very slowly. Communicating with them requires patience. A person from West Africa may speak with many more tonalities, and appear expressive to Canadian ears. A table of Brazilian people may appear heated and rowdy to conservative diners in Ottawa. The Arabic language may sound hard to an English speaker, due to its distinct sounds.
How we experience the other depends on our own point of reference. We judge everything and everybody from our own experience, of what is normal. The funny thing is that they are probably doing the same.
To a new immigrant, us Canadians perhaps speak to fast and are always rushed. The West African may think that our monotone speech is cold and without expression. The Brazilians at the restaurant may see us as ultra conservative, and reserved…while the Arabic may describe our language as sounding soft and without power.
I have some advice for the next time you come across someone or something that challenges your idea of normal. Rather than focusing on the differences, why not see the experience as an opportunity? You may just broaden your understanding of how diverse our world actually is. As Harold Rothbart said: “before he can create, man must have a deep awareness of the world about him.”