Obtaining a Healthy Mindset Towards Others

It's easy to underestimate the importance of having a positive, healthy mindset, especially when it comes to others. When our first instinct is to judge based on anything from appearance to opinion, we must fight back by having an open mind and being supportive classmates and friends. Here are some things you can do to help you better understand and appreciate the people around you. 

  1. 1. Realize that every person you see and interact with has a story 

    The first step is realizing that everyone is just as complex and human as you are. Have you ever heard the word "sonder"? It means to realize that every person on this earth, whether you know them or not, has a life just as vivid as yours. Think about retail employees. We've all been shopping, sometimes even on a busy day that made the situation stressful. Too often I think we forget that sales associates and cashiers are people, too. Yes, they have chosen this as their job, but at the end of the day even retail employees go wherever it is they call home, back to the routine of their lives and whatever issues they are facing. Once we understand this fact, it is much easier to be kind to strangers.

  2. 2. Learn not to judge others

    Easier said than done. Often our first instinct when getting to know someone or even seeing them is to call upon your perceived opinions and personal experiences to draw a conclusion about them. Although most of us have been doing this our whole lives, we have to realize that this is not necessarily healthy or fair. Further, it's innapropriate to judge someone in a situation you have never experienced. At first contact with others, we don't know what they have been through or what situations their descisions are built from. If we start friendships with judgements, it gives little room to understand struggles they've gone through or are going through, and it makes it harder to be a positive friend. 

  3. 3. Provide supportive and positive feedback to your friends

    Once you have gotten to know someone and are now a part of their growth as a person, they will probably be relying on you for your advice and support. Even if you do not necessarily agree with descisions they are making, we all need to realize that not everyone is the same and has the same goals. This isn't a bad thing, it's just a reflection of our own individuality. That being said, it is okay to let your friend know that you don't think something is a good idea, but do it gently. If they ask for suggestions, make sure to encourage them as well as provide constructive criticism. 

If you see the need to have a better mindset towards others, you're already halfway there. You're probably already a great friend; now get out there and be a great stranger as well!

HCXO, Elizabeth