Living in a multicultural society, you are bound to meet people from several different nationalities and backgrounds wherever you are – at work, on the road, social gatherings, or even at the gym. While you may encounter various mannerisms, languages, attires and food choices that are starkly unlike your own, having an open mind can help you acknowledge and accept these differences.
However, cultural harmony is only a part of being an open-minded person. Tolerance and open-mindedness is a virtue that can be beneficial in all walks of life. Whether it’s a misunderstanding you may have with another driver in traffic or trivial habits of a family member that make you uneasy, being more tolerant can help you lead a happier life and make a positive impact to everyone around you.
Why is being open-minded important?
By simply recognizing and respecting others’ beliefs and practices you can build a more harmonious relationship with whoever you meet. Being open-minded can help us put our differences aside and cooperate to progress as individuals, and as a society.
Celebrating The Year of Tolerance in the UAE
The UAE sets a remarkable example in the benefits of having an open-minded and accepting society, with 2019 being declared ‘The Year of Tolerance’ by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. A multicultural yet cohesive society, the nation is home to over 200 nationalities. Its laws and policies have helped everyone combine their strengths to make it one of the most prosperous and safe countries in the world.
How to build open-mindedness in your own life
- Accept unfamiliarity: Reminding ourselves that we don’t know everything helps us become more open-minded. By understanding that you can never entirely know why some people behave the way they do, you can eliminate negative thinking and become more empathetic.
- Reflect often: Analyzing why you may not like a person (or their behavior), will help you understand why you are not at ease with them. For example, you may get annoyed when your co-worker does not use a coaster. By asking yourself why you dislike that trait and whether it’s worth creating a verbal conflict about it, may help you make a sound decision.
- Exercise or meditate: Often, you may find yourself in situations you cannot control. In such scenarios you can help yourself feel better by rewarding your body with exercise, meditation or yoga. Physical activity helps calms down your nerves and can help you feel positive about situations that are out of your hand.
- Consciously seek diversity: Meet new people, learn about other religions, or try new cuisines. By openly looking out for diversity, you gradually become more accepting of differences and enjoy the variety in the people around you.
Whether you’re 5 or 50 years old, by seeing things from others’ perspectives and respecting their point of view you can make a positive impact in your daily life.