It seems as if we go through life trying to put other people into buckets…and usually those buckets are some form of “better” or “worse” than us. Society tends to dictate which people have more value – whether value is defined by skin color, gender, sexual orientation or physical possessions.

All this ends up doing is separating us from one another.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many countries and meet people from different cultures. One of the benefits of being a woman traveling alone is that people find you approachable and are comfortable talking with you. It has given me an opportunity to really connect with people and learn more about them. And you know what I’ve discovered?

We are more alike than we are different.

Every person I have met wants to be loved, heard and understood. Every one of them wants a better life for his or her children. Each culture I have visited enjoys sitting around a table, sharing a meal, and talking and laughing. Every small child (and some bigger ones too!) that I have met – or even seen – smiles with pure joy when you wave at him or her…and then waves back as if his or her life depends on it. A smile, kiss on the cheek, hug, or even a warm handshake can cause two strangers to begin to become friends.

Sure, the types of food that they eat, the style of their homes and their clothing may be different, but who doesn’t like trying a new type of food or shopping for a new outfit? And, yes, different people practice different religions, but since most religions are based on the concept of love, we have a basic (and powerful) starting point to connect and discuss. 

How can you begin to break down imaginary walls that exist between you and another person?

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