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Although we hear the occasional horror story about how someone, on account of their race, origin or religious beliefs, is discriminated against, the truth is that globalization (however we view it) is thrusting acceptance upon us.
In Bulgaria, for example, the civil war in Syria resulted in a wave of immigrants from that ravaged country. Bulgaria, a country of roughly eight million mostly older people, and virtually devoid of population with a –0.6 population growth rate 1, is now facing the prospect of new faces from faraway places (e.g., Syria, Algeria and Russia for example), some of different faiths than the predominant Bulgarian Orthodox religion.
I heard a story in which villagers, all of whom were seniors, pulled out their rifles when they heard that refugees of a different religion would be forcibly settled in their village. ‘What will happen?’ I asked, deeply concerned about such a violent reaction. ‘The gendarmerie will become involved.’
Acceptance vs. Resistance
We cannot stop change. We must accept that there are certain forces at work that are beyond our control. As hard as it is for some of us to accept that our world has changed and continues to change, from a psychological perspective, acceptance is healthier than resistance.
Breaking the barriers of difference
There are civilized ways of dealing with difference. Diplomacy, communication, civility, an open mind and a welcoming heart.
A personal example
My family moved from Toronto, Canada to Champaign, Illinois when I was a child. As a youngster, I did not travel well and do not remember crossing the border on account of the suppository my parents gave me.
It was not a direct route since, first, I graduated from Mrs. Armitage’s kindergarten in Toronto and, later, completed first grade in Madison, Wisconsin. As soon as we arrived in Champaign, my mother was befriended by the late Eloise Wachala, a poet, who introduced her to the C-U International Women’s Group. Through this group, Mother met many wonderful women who subsequently became her friends.
This open, welcoming and accepting way is beautiful. It is the opposite of fear, suspicion and discrimination. This open, beautiful way is what made America the culturally diverse nation it is today.
After centuries of wars, conquests and oppression, we cannot entirely blame the older Bulgarian villagers for their deep mistrust of foreigners. We need to keep things in perspective in that regard. Nevertheless, let us open the door for change by acknowledging that times have changed. Wars are mostly economic these days and immigrants have much to offer from professional expertise to culinary delights.
Image title: ‘Green Nuances.’
Description: On the outskirts of Raduil, Bulgaria.
Photographer: Luba Rascheff
1 Source: https://www.google.bg/search?q=bulgaria+birth+rate&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&gws_rd=cr&ei=K1Z_UpecD4Tcswb_l4HoCA#q=bulgaria+population+growth+rate&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&stick=H4sIAAAAAAAAAGOovnz8BQMDgz8HjxKHfq6-gaFpYYaWY3aylX5OfnJiSWZ-nn5xCZAuLslMTsyJL0pNBwpZFeQXlOaAZePTi_LLSzLiixJLUuPL84tyUuKTEvOy84_fevNqwT4vt7uxNRMclAXV_nJsBwD9MMUDbAAAAA
Do you feel stuck where you are? Unappreciated perhaps? Are the pressures and problems of life weighing down on you? If so, understand: It doesn’t have to be like this. There is a way out.
You are the way
The first thing to grasp is that you need to desire change before it can happen. Only you know what you truly, deeply desire.
You’re going to have to motivate yourself from within–draw from inner resources–to change your outward circumstances.
Pick a place and setting where you’d like to be. If you don’t do this, nothing will happen.
Focus on what you do best. This is the quality everyone raves about most. “Joe is so good at ________________________.” (Fill in the blank.) Doing so will enable you to grasp what you should be doing as opposed to what you’re doing.
You must believe that a big life change is possible. Believing opens the door for possibilities to materialize. Your new belief in yourself must be expressed in thoughts and words.
Take measured steps
Once you’re motivated, focused on your target and believe you can make the big change, take the necessary steps. Writing down your priorities will help.
Success is inevitable
If you follow the above steps, the big change you’ve been dreaming about will happen.
Image source: freedomquest.ca