The United States is filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of unique cultures and heritages. Building and maintaining relationships often means exploring and taking an interest in cultures and traditions other than your own. This can help build deeper connections among people you meet, as well as understand more about the needs and goals of others. It also opens the door to sharing more about your own personal cultural traditions and heritages with others.
Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness
Indicators of thriving:
An interest in and actions towards learning about cultures, heritages and traditions other than your own
Ability to relate to people on various levels
An interest in sharing your own cultural traditions and heritages
Awareness of “good” and “bad” in all cultures
Ability to identify and interrupt active racism through education
Indicators of warning:
No interest in learning about cultures other than your own
Feeling like your culture or heritage is innately superior to others, rather than your personal journey
Inability to relate on any level to others who have different cultural heritages or beliefs other than your own
Use of a “race-based” lens to view people and cultures
Cultural awareness is important to being able to form relationships with people from all walks of life, including people from different heritages, nations, religions, sexual orientations, and others. An openness to learning about others and finding ways ways to relate to others using your own experiences is a healthy way to begin. If warning signs are present, ask yourself: Why am I closed off to learning about other cultures? What is the underlying issue in my challenge to relating to this person? How can my challenges be overcome?
Actively watch documentaries, read books, and learn the history of various cultures and people
Explore new foods and opportunities to engage with others
Learn more about using a “person-first” lens, rather than a race-based lens
If you are experiencing underlying barriers or traumas that prevent you from learning about and relating to others, it may be time to seek intervention.