By: Sherry Levine, Regular Contributor
I am in an industry where I have to interact, face-to-face, daily with many different types of people. The other day, I had an interaction with someone who appeared, to the outside eye, a bit different. She was a louder than the average person entering an office. “Hello Sherry!” “HI!!” I said back. She was also quite tall. And her outfit was almost as loud as she was. To me, she was amazing. Not amazing for her outfit or her personality, but for her being unforgivably HER. I was drawn to that. After conversing, tackling the work we needed to get done, and clearly getting along, she left.
I knew what everyone was thinking without them even saying it: “OMG, who is that lady, and WHAT WAS SHE WEARING, and WHY IS SHE SO WEIRD?” I almost leaped into defense. And then someone said to me, “how do you get along so well with everyone?” And I think what she meant was, “how do you get along so well with people like that?”
This lady was clearly older than me and had a different lifestyle than me. But that didn’t make me feel different from her. I didn’t feel like I couldn’t relate to her. Instead, I WANTED to relate to her. I wanted to see the world through her eyes. I wanted to JOIN her in whatever day, hour, life she was living. And therefore we got along. I joined her in her quirky energy and embraced her loudness. I was amused by her stories, by what she had to say and intrigued by who she was and why she was this way. I wanted her to feel comfortable. I found a way to relate, which was so easy to do, because I wanted to.
“How do you get along so well with everyone?” “I just get them,” I said. Not sure if that explained it or not. But to me, that’s all I needed to say. I consciously and purposefully try to meet people at an equal level rather than an ego level. I try to push aside hierarchy, status, people’s pasts and futures, and honestly connect. Forget about labels, appearances, and experiences and just get them. Some people may call it people pleasing, some may call it being fake, some may call is schmoozing. I look at it as an awareness: an awareness of another person’s soul, for lack of a better word, an awareness of establishing a connection in any way.
My challenge to you is to go through your days and try to connect with the people around you. This doesn’t mean you have to talk to them for hours and ask them questions about their lives, but rather say “Hello,” and mean it. Rid yourself of your ego, your stresses, your distant mind, and interact on an equal level. Be genuine, be real, and be curious.
As Henry David Thoreau said, “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant?”
Trust me, you’ll feel what he’s talking about. Even if just for an instant.
I am Sherry Levine. A 26-year-old woman committed to supporting and inspiring women in any way I can. With my contributions to I AM THAT GIRL and my life-coaching program Generation Teen, designed to provide guidance to everyday teen girls, it is my mission to encourage and empower all women to create the happiest and most fulfilling life possible.
Featured image via thedailyawe.com