Compliment Each Other

What is important to you? Is it also important to your culture?

Have you ever traveled out of your comfort zone- spent extended time with a culture completely different from your own- only to return home and feel you live in a world, a culture, a community that no longer fits? Does your life still make sense to you? What can you do?

You can try to emulate the values shown to you by this other culture. You can accept that your values may differ from your own culture’s, and accept all the alienation that comes along with being “different.”

You can complain- or- you can create a way to continually connect with the people and the community that felt like your clan, your tribe- knowing that within that community exist individuals first. Individuals who, despite shared interests and commonalities- also differ greatly with how they approach life, relationships, and work. We can accept these differences and we can cherish them. We can learn that despite the beliefs cultivated in our youth that dictate how important it is to “fit in,” we can remember that our differences, as Ben Gibbard so eloquently sang, “compliment each other like colors.” We are not all meant to be the same. We are meant to impact each other- affect each other- to influence each other and teach each other to grow.

We are allowed to- as said in Sweet Home Alabama, to have both roots and wings. The two are not mutually exclusive. Roots- remember them. Remember your self as you venture out into the world. Having strong ties to your own values will keep you sane when you find yourself unable to relate to the people in your immediate vicinity. Be weird. Be different. Because, when you look at the happiest, most genuine people in the world (if you’re lucky enough to witness them), they typically respect everybody while simultaneously remembering who they are. Once you forget your values, you risk becoming “one of the many,” losing the beautiful, natural colors that make you, you.

We must learn how to argue again, like family. One of the major problems in our relationships comes from our inability to maintain respect and decorum in a debate. Keep it classy. Respect diversity. Ask questions. Be kind.

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