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Defusing the Scariness of Diversity (3 of 4) | Untangling from the Web of Fear

Second, what we THINK we know about other people is probably much scarier than the TRUTH about other people. Thankfully, the truth is that there are no spiders as large as a bedroom. What tall tales have you come to associate with other people that simply are not true?

I can remember being told stories about a neighbor on my block that turned out later to not be true, but which influenced how I thought about her and how I interacted (or didn’t!) with her.

She was an older widow who attended our church, and didn’t bother anybody, but would spend a lot of time talking to herself and because she kept to herself, all the kids thought she was scary and dangerous. Without any evidence!

One day, I decided to be bold and get closer and closer to her until she could see me from a distance and still be close enough to talk to her. Know what? She was really nice! And all my unfounded fears melted away. To this day, I still think of her and wonder how people could have confused her tendency to talk to herself – probably because she was alone so much—with being scary and dangerous.

Our families, schools, places of worship and social media can all provide cautionary tales about groups of people that scare us away from people who can enrich our lives rather than towards others.

I encourage you to think about experiences you’ve had where you were able to really learn the truth about someone or something that changed your entire perception of that person or idea.

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