Do you find yourself surrounded with people who look, think, and act like you do? Do you have any opportunities to encourage diversity in your life?
When everything looks like us, we can develop an unconscious bias, seeing the world as “us” and the “others”. If we don’t encourage diversity, we miss out on the chance for understanding and respect, richer relationships, and the chance to grow your world view.
Keep reading to learn how you can encourage diversity and enrich your life.
Challenge Your World View: Encourage Diversity
Sometimes we stay safely inside the lines that have been drawn for us by our childhoods and families. We surround ourselves with people who look, think, and act like we do. But when everything looks like us, we can develop an unconscious bias, seeing the world as “us” and the “others.”
When we stay strictly in our own lane, we miss out on the richness and beauty of a diverse world with amazing people of all races, religions, political affiliations, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations and any other category. If we don’t encourage diversity, we miss out on the chance for understanding and respect, richer relationships, and the chance to grow as a person.
Don’t Get Bogged Down in Tradition
Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash Your Face, understands what it’s like to grow up firmly believing there is just one way to be. Her small town in California, Weedpatch, was white, low income, conservative and Christian, full of people deeply entrenched in their religion and cultural traditions. She didn’t think that being “other was wrong,” she simply didn’t know that “other” existed. A junior high trip to Disneyland opened her eyes. She saw every ethnicity, a gay couple, and individual styles and could only stare and try to take it all in.
One way may be all you know as a child, but we can’t claim this ignorance forever; we grow up and understand that many people on earth are very different from us. When you stay inside your own bubble, you miss out on rich friendships that can open your eyes and stretch your worldview. Stretching yourself comes from experiencing things outside your comfort zone
As an adult and in her career, Hollis sought out to encourage diversity, believing that being in community with people who aren’t like you helps you stretch and grow into the best version of yourself. One of her best friends is Mexican, African American and gay, and from this friend she learned about strength, history, truth and courage. She would have missed out on so much if she didn’t actively explore this friendship.
Raise Your Children Without Bias
She makes an effort to encourage diversity and raise her children without the homogenized worldview she grew up in and too many people stay in. When friends with a differently abled son came to visit, she didn’t give her boys a heads up and try to explain what his physical issues were, because that might create an “us” and “them” mindset. Instead, when he arrived with his walker, they simply thought it was cool. Her kids’ circle of friends includes every color, religion, and ability; there are friends with Down Syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy. Different isn’t unique to them.
When you ask questions, challenge your outlook, encourage diversity, and not settle into a world made up of your own comfort zone, you’ll find deeper friendships based on more than skin-deep perceptions.
“Adjust your posture” to include a wider, more inclusive community for yourself and your family, seeing people for who they are, not the category they fall into.
Tips to Encourage Diversity in Your Life
Try these strategies to create a more diverse life.
- New church. When the author and her husband realized their church consisted mainly of affluent white people, they switched to one that was multiethnic and multicultural and found real community. (you can substitute this advice for any group that you feel is too one-dimensional and doesn’t provide you with a new worldview.)
- Be honest with yourself. Assess your world view. Are you surrounded by diversity or people who are exactly like you? Seek new friends and experiences.
- Ask questions. Hollis learned to humbly ask questions about race, white privilege and unconscious bias that her friend was able to help her with.
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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Rachel Hollis's "Girl, Wash Your Face" at Shortform.
Here's what you'll find in our full Girl, Wash Your Face summary:
- Why you should accept that life can be messy
- How seeing that you're in control of your life can help you live more joyfully
- The 20 lies you might be telling yourself