Having recently relocated from Pittsburgh, PA to Los Angeles, CA (it’s been about 5 months now), one of the biggest challenges has been adapting to a different culture and a more diverse living environment. Approximately 310,000 people live in Pittsburgh, PA. Los Angeles? Nearly 4,000,000!
I’ve always considered myself a “people person”, however, I’ve learned so much within the last 5 months about adapting to and accepting others. One major thing I’ve had to adapt to? Being ignored more than acknowledged when I say “Hello” or simply smile at someone as I pass them on the street. Two major things I’ve learned about acceptance? That’s it’s OK to not be accepted by others, and also, that amazing things can happen when you accept and appreciate others for who they are and where they’ve come from.
When you accept and appreciate others for who they are, you also begin to understand the meaning of being “open-minded”. You can welcome so many different and refreshing perspectives into your life! Speaking of different perspectives, listen to this…
Six years ago, I was a sophomore in college at Penn State (Beaver campus). I decided to become a Resident Assistant – one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. During our orientation for the RA program, the Director of Student Affairs, Dr. Rizzo, met with our group in the lobby of Harmony Hall (the dorms). He told us stories of his experiences in college and shed some light on what we were about to experience for ourselves! Then, he conducted a team exercise with us that I still pass on to others today. He had the five of us sit around a table, and then he placed a Wizard of Oz coffee mug in the middle of the table. Dr. Rizzo then went around the table and asked each of us what we saw on the mug. Guess what? We all named a different image on the mug – our viewpoint. This symbolized how we will encounter many others throughout our lifetime who will have a different perspective on things.
You don’t have to conform or always agree, but listening to others’ perspectives throughout your life could certainly create a “beautiful picture on your mug”. Be open-minded, accept, love, learn, and live!