When we think of diversity, a common assumption is that people from diverse backgrounds will automatically find their way into our lives. However, this is rarely the case. More often, our default setting as humans is to surround ourselves with people who are similar to ourselves. That said, it does not by any means have to be this way. If you are someone who might be willing to put yourself out there for the sake of pursuing diversity, please read on.
One way to add diversity to our lives is by seeking it out intentionally. For example, if you are White and want to become friends with someone who is Black or Hispanic, taking the initiative to form a connection with a Black or Hispanic person you already know might be a good place to start. If there are not any Black or Hispanic people within your current social sphere, you might consider expanding that sphere by intentionally going to places in your community where you are more likely to encounter Black and/or Hispanic people. For instance, you could try mixing up your morning routine by visiting a coffee shop or restaurant in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood on your way to work. Attending a Sunday worship service at a predominantly Black church may be another idea worth considering. Or perhaps you would be willing to check out a new gym that is frequented by people of color. Remember that by intentionally visiting places where you are not the racial or ethnic majority, you are allowing for opportunities to connect with people who are different from you.
Granted, taking this type of intentional step may be uncomfortable. This feeling is perfectly normal. In fact, pushing yourself enough to notice you are outside your comfort zone likely means you are on your way to challenging the status quo in your own life. It is very tempting to simply surround yourself with people who are similar to you. Instead, you can choose to intentionally seek out diversity by switching up your very surroundings. Obviously, there are more steps that would follow such an undertaking. That said, venturing outside your comfort zone is the first and perhaps one of the most important steps you will take as you pursue diversity in your life.
Ryan Woods, LPC Associate
My goal as a counselor is to help adults, adolescents, and children by providing a space to be heard, process life’s challenges, and develop the necessary skills to thrive mentally, physically, and spiritually. My overall approach to therapy involves cognitive behavioral methods (exploring one’s thoughts and beliefs relative to emotions and behaviors), as well as narrative therapy (engaging personal stories that view people as separate from their problems). I view counseling as a collaborative effort in helping clients to recognize strengths, identify needs, understand conflicts, discover new options, set personal development goals, and make informed choices.
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