In times of uncertainty and change, cohesion is more important than ever. Being strong together means supporting each other, showing empathy and finding solutions together. But how can we strengthen cohesion in our society? In this blog post, you’ll learn how openness can help us understand each other better and be more empathetic with each other – for a future of solidarity.
When we find ourselves in a situation where we need to make a judgment, our brain searches our memory for relevant information at lightning speed in order to be able to react. Unfortunately, we tend to jump to the first thought that comes to mind. For our ancestors thousands of years ago, it may have been advantageous to make quick judgments in dangerous situations. Today, this is not always the case. Too quickly we become rigid about one answer or idea and then are unable to look for and consider alternatives: We have preconceptions.
Many have a tendency to take in new information or evaluate it in a way that is consistent with their own beliefs. For example, when gun violence is reported in the U.S., some take this as an opportunity to call for tougher gun laws, while others feel even more justified in their opinion that they should own a gun themselves, after all, they should be able to defend themselves in the event of such an attack.
These different types of biases are natural and widespread, but they make it difficult to interact with other people and they can lead us to make less good decisions.
Listen, ask questions, engage in exchange
Openness is an attitude that helps us to be attentive and interested in new people and situations. Listening, asking questions and engaging in an exchange helps to shed rigid attitudes and prejudices. Openness does not necessarily mean agreeing with everything – but being willing to accept new things. This applies to both our personal and professional relationships.
As globalization continues to evolve, all of our environments are becoming more diverse by the day. To succeed personally and professionally in today’s society, interactions with new people are essential. Openness is an attitude that enables us to approach new people and situations and make them positive. When we are more open, we come into contact with more people and, as a result, have the opportunity to broaden our horizons. We learn more about other cultures, customs, needs and thus we can understand ourselves much better. At the same time, we can build closer relationships with others who give us warmth, support and understanding.
If you are open in discussions, you will be able to form deeper, more fulfilling relationships with others. Your counterpart will thank you because he or she will feel seen. And in such a discussion, you yourself can have a situation described to you from a different perspective in order to understand it better. Perhaps you will end up with a more differentiated opinion, perhaps you will stick to your point of view – but then you will certainly have learned new aspects in the conversation and been able to strengthen your arguments.
Our tips for more openness
On the one hand, there is the longing for closeness, security and familiarity. On the other hand, there is the fear of the unknown, of being hurt and disappointed. So how can we open up without putting our personal security at risk?
This is not a simple question, and there is no universal answer. Each person is different and must figure out for himself or herself what balance is right for him or her. In some situations, it may be right to be completely open and take risks. In others, it’s better to be cautious and not rush into something blindly.
One thing is clear, however: if we close our hearts, we will not be able to move forward. We have to learn when to open up and when not to. That’s why it’s so important for each individual to determine their boundaries and try to be honest with themselves and others. Only in this way can we achieve the right balance between openness and personal security.
At MoreDiversity, we want to educate and actively support the elimination of prejudice through information, exchange and dialogue. We want a society in which every person can openly decide for himself or herself how he or she wants to live – regardless of gender, social or ethnic origin, disability, age or appearance.
Only by working together to create more understanding for each of us and being aware of our differences can we grow together as a community and increase our chances for peace and progress.