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How does accepting others help you in life?

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Accepting others as they are is freedom.

Whether you like it or not, accepting others for who they are will help you to accept yourself.

The other day, my mother was talking to me about hiring a guy to help her with few things around the house that she needed to finish. The first thing my mother said was, “I know this young guy, he is a Christian, and I want to hire him for the job.” Being a person of faith, no matter what your religion was automatically qualified you for a job in Iraq I grew up in 20 to 30 years ago.

Iraq, as I knew it, was a country of tolerance and acceptance of people from different walks of life regardless of their faith or beliefs.

The statement my mother made brought back memories of my neighborhood, where Muslims (Sunni and Shia), Catholics, Armenians, Assyrian, Turks, and Kurds all lived together and shared their happy moments, and sad moments, as one big family. Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying Iraq was perfect. Many people suffered due to the conflicts that plagued Iraq throughout time. However, since then, Iraq unfortunately changed and so did the people.

The new generations are losing that sense of acceptance and diversity.

They are growing up without having the opportunity to sense that beautiful feeling of a diverse community that embraces all people regardless of their human-made differences. Iraq is a very wealthy country and has enough resources for all Iraqis to live comfortably, but yet due to mistrust many people are suffering greatly, and the division is only getting wider and wider.  I hope and pray that Iraqis agree to work together again to save the country from a devastating and gloomy future that can only bring destruction to those living there. The development of this lack of trust and fear was something that traveled with me across the ocean.

Accepting others

As I arrived in the United States, like many other refugees and immigrants, I brought my fears and lack of trust in others to my new home. I was neither willing, nor able, to be part of a bigger community, and I clung to the few people who shared my same faith and ethnicity. I was missing a lot, but yet, that was the new norm for me due to the war in Iraq. I wasn’t ready to try and be open to others.

Eventually, I was fortunate to find a job working with refugees and immigrants, and that job opened up many opportunities for me to be part of the broader community, yet again, I didn’t take that chance and continued to live with my predetermined thoughts of others in the United States.

How does accepting others help you in life?

It was not until I met Josh, a very dear friend now, who taught me a lesson about openness and acceptance that helped me to connect with myself from 20 years ago. This was an experience that I have shared with many people before, as I am sharing it with you today; I hope you find it to be beneficial. Josh told me, as he also modeled by example, “Take a moment to listen to others, take a moment to say hi to others when you walk by them, try to understand them, and try to learn from their experiences in life.”

As I tried to do what he expressed to me. I immediately started to notice a change within myself. I was not wary of the people I walked by on the streets. I no longer saw differences as a bad thing. The best thing was the knowledge I gained from associating with people from different walks of life.

Words cannot justify how I felt after I freed my soul from the chains of isolation and I urge you to try it, you will love it!

I know that you and I have a lot of lessons to learn from being in a new community, but taking that first step toward someone whom we don’t share those same beliefs, color, ethnic background, or gender will open up new doors for us and allow us to see things through fresh eyes. This is how we change the world into a better place.

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Opinions expressed and advice given in USAHello’s Voices and Hello blogs are the writers’ own. USAHello offers impartial information and online courses to help newcomers in the USA.