Think about all those times when you go to the grocery store, or walk down the street, or find yourself at a function where there’s someone who, due to their behavior or appearance or loud opinions, you’d typically steer away from. Or maybe you end up in a place where things are done differently, or in a different order, or in a manner that might otherwise offend you simply because it’s not what you’re used to.
Instead of becoming judgmental, or offended, or walking away in a huff, I think as writers, we have a responsibility: To learn, to question, to understand, and to try and see things from the other side.
We’re the ones whose imaginations, whose stories and perceptions, help to shape those of the people we reach with the people and situations we create. If we write off things that are different simply for the sake of being different, how limiting is that?!
And how will that help anyone to see beyond outer perceptions?
I’ve been in more than one situation recently – and met several people – that instinct wanted me to write off as “DO NOT LIKE” simply because it wasn’t how I was used to things being done, or the people as “INFERIOR” simply because I didn’t like them based on a first (superficial) impression. I’m not ashamed to admit it! We all do it, we just don’t like to talk about it or we’re embarrassed to admit we think this way.
It’s required an active shift in my perception filters to become more open to accepting these situations and people as learning experiences. As a way to expand my view of the world, and to realize that everyone, everyone has something interesting about them that we could never know from a simple glance at the surface.
It means seeing the good or fascinating in the different because of the differences. Not dismissing the different simply for the sake of it being different.
Writing off anyone or anything because of immediate personal bias does an enormous disservice to the rest of the world, because as writers, we need to draw on the different, the strange, and the things that no one else is brave enough to try to understand.
The more open we are, the more incredible and wondrous the world will become. And the more we understand that? The better this place will be for all of us.