I recently came across this idea that everyone cherishes our differences from one another. When you first meet someone rather than looking at the similarities between you too we see the differences. We tend to exaggerate our differences by minimizing our similarities. “If you are like most people, then like most people, you don’t know if you’re like most peole” – Daniel Gilbert a study shown in the book: “The Art of happiness in a Troubled World.”
In this book the authors, the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, explore the concept of me vs we. While reading, I kept agreeing with the fact that there is a distinction in the way we view ourselves to other people, but I couldn’t understand why until the Dalai Lama came up with an example. He told Dr. Cutler that in the Tibetan language the word ‘ngatso’ has two definitions: we; many I’s. In the English language we see those two words as two separate ideas, yet for the tibetans they are combined.
The difference between understanding two different cultures is sometimes lost in the translation. Even if you can speak both languages you can’t fully understand what the concept is. It’s not me or we. It’s me and we. When we change the context of the sentence our inclusiveness is what leads us to seeing the similarity more clearly rather than the difference.
We are always told to try to take the words I and me out of our vocabulary when we first meet someone because we never want to talk about ourselves, we should ask questions. What I realized after reading this chapter is that people act differently when they first meet someone.
We strive to find that one single piece of information that connects our lives together. Through a mutual friend, place of vacation, love for a certain genre of music, and so on. Once we find this one similarity however, we try to make ourselves feel superior by maximizing our experiences.
As I have said before, this concept is simple but not easy. But it is important to understand why our minds work this way. We don’t always have to be the superior person in the circumstance, we can just be mutuals. Maybe, by using this technique we can find the happiness in our troubled, troubled world.