People & Lessons
As we grow up most of us are taught from a young age to respect those around us. We are taught to respect the things that aren’t ours and take care of the things that are. We are introduced into society by our family and spend time growing up around family and friends. We become comfortable with certain personalities and surroundings. As we get older we start to meet new people, some of us follow the path our parents want us to follow and some of us are more curious and we become part of different social circles, where we get to meet others who are completely different than what we’ve ever been use to. This is the beginning of learning to understand and get along with others. We learn about how different people can be from us and we either stick with them or move on.
As we continue to grow some of us will venture out and move to different cities, even countries. We will encounter different friendships some will last a lifetime others will be short but full of lessons. Moving to different cities or countries means we have stepped outside our comfort levels. We’ll learn to adjust to our new surroundings; we’ll need to learn to understand the new culture, but to fully understand the culture we have to understand its people and this can be quite a challenge for many.
I come from a pretty diverse background. Growing up as a Venezuelan-American I’ve been pretty lucky to experience 2 cultures simultaneously, which I believe has given me an early advantage in understanding how different people around us can be. I’ve had to learn to adapt to my surroundings from a very young age and understand that the world is much bigger than what revolves us. I lived in the states for well over 16 years of my life. I was accustomed to a type of lifestyle. As I grew older I began to work, I attended university and I met a lot of people. Everyone always had a different story to tell, a different background or upbringing, eventually some of us found a connection and became friends.
For the majority of my life I’ve been “comfortable” with the people and things around me. Anywhere I’ve lived I’ve hustled my way through it and made it work. I’ve made bad friends; I’ve made good friends. I’ve been in both awful and wonderful relationships.
However, living in Miami taught me the most about people. Miami is a city filled with people from all walks of life and all cultures. Prior to moving to Miami I use to always use to see the good in people even if they hurt me. Eventually I was hurt enough and stopped giving so much of myself to outsiders.
At one point while in Miami, I felt completely disconnected from everyone I kept running into. I had to take a step back, reflect and really think about what my values, my priorities and my needs were and analyze the people I was spending time with. We came from totally different families and backgrounds but most importantly we had no common values or beliefs. You’re probably thinking it’s really unfair to “judge” people based on their backgrounds or family past, but my decision to part ways from most people came based on lifestyle choices and behaviors at that time.
Fast forward to now and at this point in life I think it’s fair to say my personal intelligence is well on it’s way to becoming more and more developed. I would also like to say that I’m pretty open-minded. I’ve dealt with & surpassed the anger that came from being hurt by outsiders, friends & even family. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise & if you prove me otherwise, be prepared to lose my trust & loyalty. It is what it is.
I’ve also had to learn that some people are just selfish jerks, but I’ve also learned to value myself much more and be okay with being selfish with my own time. I’m not a selfish person, but being selfish with your time just means you acknowledge that you’re valuable and your time is valuable, therefore you’re not going to waste it on negative people or things.
Let me make clear that by no means have I become a pro-at understanding or reading people, but I am pretty confident in my personal intelligence, so allow me to share a couple things I’ve picked up through the years that have helped me understand people around me just a bit more. There’s a chance that as you read these, you may be able to relate to what I’m feeling; and in a sense that’s a developed sense of understanding towards others.
Egos & Feelings
We are human. You have an ego. People have egos. Understand that the feelings you have, others have them as well. You want people to respect and understand you; well other people want the same. Once you get past your ego & see others, things get easier.
Look In The Mirro
Take a nice long look in the mirror. What do you think about yourself? Are you proud? Would you say you’re understanding? Are you open minded to other people & cultures? They say that before we can love anyone else we must love ourselves first. Is the person in the mirror someone you love? (Not in a narcissistic type of way).
Looking at ourselves first allows us to self-reflect. Self-reflection is good practice for developing the rest of our skills.
Let’s face it, we all judge, but judge yourself – (look in the mirror) –
before you judge others and if you’re going to judge others, do it with an open mind. When we judge someone we are observing them, but we are observing them according to what our own values or views are.
I remember when I worked in the nightclubs, people automatically assumed things about me. I even judged the girls I worked with. It wasn’t fair that people judged me because of the job I held & it wasn’t fair that I was judging the other girls. I felt like I constantly needed to prove myself to everyone who tried to judge me. I finally looked in the mirror and asked myself what was the purpose of this job? Why were people saying the things they did? Once I came to terms with my current self, I understood that we all must have a reason for doing what we’re doing at a given time. I also accepted the fact that judging is a natural human behavior and we all do it, and if that’s the case, I’m going to judge differently.
We need to take a step back away from our own ego and observe others with an open mind, only then is when we will truly understand & get to know them.
Do Unto Others
The basic golden rule. Treat others how you like to be treated. Think about the way you treat people and ask yourself if that were the way you would want to be treated? Think about how you feel when someone treats you inappropriately; now imagine how others would feel? Think about it this way, the person in front of you…is you, so treat them accordingly.
Having an open mind helps you understand that first impressions aren’t everything. From early on most of us are taught that first impressions are everything and we must always be on our best behavior. Guess what? Shit happens and sometimes we’re going to make mistakes. In fact sometimes it may not even be a mistake but just the simple fact they’re an introvert. At first meet, a shy person may come off as stuck up or reserved but they’re probably just nervous, stay open & give them a fair chance. Same goes for the loud one in the room whom you probably think has a huge ego for being the center of attention. Stay open. There are going to have bad days & being okay with not always making the best first impressions will make life a lot easier.
Respect is universal and it goes along way. A lot of people say respect is earned, and I don’t believe in that. We should respect each other at all times. We should also respect
ourselves enough to stand up for ourselves if someone is disrespecting us. We should
respect our family, our partners, our neighbors, strangers, our elders & so forth. If you want people to respect you, be a role model and respect those around you. When you travel respect the place you’re visiting
and it’s people. That includes respecting their background, opinions, feelings, and beliefs. When you’re meeting new people respect and understand the fact that they’re different from you, but they too have feelings & beliefs that are important.
Appreciating the things life has thrown my way has been a learning experience for me. I’m finally comfortable with accepting everything I’ve been through. All the people who have hurt me, all the people who have helped me, and all the things I’ve learned. Learning to appreciate that people are different is what makes the world go-round. Ultimately we all want similar things, more specifically we all want happiness. Appreciating each other’s journeys, beliefs and feelings is a step forward understanding & accepting one another
I’ve lived in really different places throughout my life & I’ve traveled to a variety of places, each teaching me something new about people and cultures. For the most part I was completely comfortable with life in the states, but I was bored and I wanted more out of life.
Living in Kuwait, which is completely different than anything I’ve ever been used to, has brought on some challenges. It meant having to make all new friends, understand new personalities & characters, find comfort in the new, and one of the toughest: living with complete strangers. We got assigned to flats and flat-mates prior to arriving. I’ve only lived with my mom and good friends before, I had no idea what it was like to move in with strangers. It was hard, but it’s been 6 months since being in Kuwait and I’m proud of where I am. All of the challenges have led to developing new people skills, which in turn help me develop more personal intelligence.
In Kuwait I’m consistently meeting people from all walks of life, with different personalities and cultural differences. It’s not like back home where it’s kind of easy to find some things to relate to, but that’s the fun challenge of it.
Sharpening our ability to understand our own personality and that of others will in turn help guide the choices we make when it comes to friendships & relationships, trusting people, judging, respecting & so forth.
Over all one of the most valuable things I’ve learned about people is: We are all humans and we are all very different. We all bleed red. We all have a story to tell. We all have our purpose and dreams to follow. We want happiness and success and we want to find our purpose. Understanding people’s personalities isn’t an easy task, but working through the challenges and allowing yourself to grow is what makes it all worth it.