Aliens Live Among Us – At least sometimes it feels like it
We think we all live on the same planet, but in reality, it can feel like some people are from distant galaxies.
There are times we encounter someone from another planet that’s similar to ours. This planet’s people have similar experiences, training, cultures, and childhoods as us, so they tend to also share our beliefs, values, ideas, and preferences. We find them easy to relate to and easy to like. We understand them because they are like us.
Sometimes we meet an alien from far away. Their planet must be very different from ours because we can’t begin to understand how they could think the way they do. We don’t understand their opinions, perspectives, or actions. We can’t imagine what their lives have been like to make them so unusual. We tend to label them as weird, ignorant, or difficult. They can make us uncomfortable, defensive, and frustrated.
And yet, if we were to visit their planet, grow up and live in their environment, maybe we could begin to understand their views and thoughts. If we could mind-meld to hear the voice inside their heads, we might suddenly get their perspective.
This analogy came to me the other day when I was sitting in traffic next to a car that had its windows down playing music with lyrics I found extremely offensive. I noticed myself thinking, How could someone possibly like that kind of music?
Then it hit me – I had no idea what it was like to live on their planet. Maybe if I had, it would make sense. This realization created room in my mind for greater acceptance of our differences.
Here are some suggestions to bring our planets closer (especially if you work or live together) –
- Realize you may have very different backgrounds, experiences, trainings, personalities, values, etc.
- Talk about your childhoods
- Compare life experiences that have shaped who you are
- Find common interests or hobbies
- Share your 5 top values
- Say, “How interesting!“ Ask people to tell you more about their views
- Take a personality test such as DiSC or Myers Briggs and share the results
Think of someone in your life who feels like they come from a different planet. Which ideas above could you try to create more understanding and acceptance of these differences?
Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a speaker, trainer, and founder of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.