After recently reading the Strengths Finder by Tom Rath and taking the test, I found out that one of my strengths was that I am an “Includer”. So, I was like….what?! That’s is a strength?! What does that even mean? But, when I thought about it a little more, I realized that it absolutely is a strength. An Includer is someone who is rarely, if ever, judgmental of other people. That made me pause for a minute, and think about it. What a wonderful thing to have! And I took it for granted. Casting a judgement on someone is very easy to do and we tend to do it immediately when we see someone for the first time. Fortunately, it is not something I do often, and for which I am very thankful. I realized that my default is to always keep an open mind regardless of who I interact with and of what they look or act like.
More often than not, people would ask me “How are you friends with this person?… They are nothing like you!” At first, I didn’t know how to answer that. But then I realized it’s because I allow people to be their true self around me. I do not ask them to change who they are for me nor do I try to change them. I accept you for who you are as long as you are nice and honest to me and to yourself.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that I am the authority on who’s a good person and who’s not. The way I think about it is that you never really know what a person is going through in their life. You will NEVER know how someone is truly feeling unless they tell you. You don’t know how they grew up, what led them to YOU, and you definitely don’t know how someone’s story is going to end. I cannot say this enough. The ending to someone’s story is more important than where they are now and you never know if or when someone will change. You will never know what is in someone’s heart and how they actually feel about their own situation. You will never know the WHY….sometimes even if they tell you.
You have to keep an open mind and keep everyone in your prayers. People’s actions are often caused by their past experiences. Sometimes, that root is too deep for anyone to go digging to find it. It can be anything from, genetics, upbringing, lifestyle, socio-economic status…etc. It could be anything and everything! That is why I never shut anyone down and I always keep an open mind.