One of the things I've learned when I lived abroad, is to be aware when you fall into the trap of otherisation or othering! Being part of an international community or multi diverse group makes you very much aware of the other and you are constantly shifting in accepting the other in his or her otherness. When living abroad it was quite obvious that I was different and that the people who surrounded me where different from me (just looking at our skincolor, the way we dress, talk etc) however we always look for what we shared and what we had in common and "different from what I am used to" was not associated with bad or wrong, "same same but different" was the motto.
I devote a whole chapter on this topic in my upcoming book.
By “othering”, I mean any action by which an individual or a group becomes mentally classified in somebody’s mind as “not one of us”. Rather acknowledging that every person is a complex bundle of emotions, ideas, motivations, reflexes, priorities, and many other subtle aspects, it’s sometimes easier to dismiss them as being in some way less worthy of respect and dignity. The pattern of periodic othering for political, economic motivations to make you feel more important, lies at the root of virtually most intractable problems.
Especially now that media & politicians are getting their claws into the refugee debate, be aware of the trap of othering.
Be aware of what the wider society defines as "other" or not mainstream and ask yourself the question what is societies' motivation to do so.
I need you in order to be me. And you need me in order to be you
~ Nelson Mandela
A good sense of your own selfworth can help you NOT to fall victim of othering.
Beeing accepted by family and by friends for who you are including with what we call our shadow sides, will help you to be resilient if you fall victim of othering. Building strong relations with those people who are close to you can help.
If you feel like you have fallen victim of othering and you find it hard to get back on track, contact me and we will find a way out.
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