Acknowledge differences

Before reacting to someone’s behaviour, take a moment to consider what might be motivating it. Could it be their current health, family issues or life stressors?

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There are many important factors to consider when dealing with others’ negative emotions, including the differences among the people involved. Being aware of emotions, and open to speaking about them, can be influenced by: 

  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • Personality 
  • Cultural background 
  • Ethnicity 
  • Family history 
  • Life experiences 
  • Current health 

Trying to imagine why someone might feel or act the way they are can help you address the potential hurt or fear instead of just reacting to the negative emotions. Here are some questions to consider: 

  • Could this be the way their family responded to stress?  
  • Could they be feeling insecure?  
  • Could they be dealing with ill health, such as depression or pain?  
  • Can you imagine what could happen to you that would cause you to behave this way?  

You don’t need to excuse or ignore the negative emotion. Acknowledging differences will help you bring understanding and compassion to your interactions with others.  

See Implicit bias to learn to identify and understand implicit bias, microaggressions and intersectionality. Whether the bias results in poor morale or discrimination, identifying it is the first step to eliminating it.

Contributors include.articlesDr. Joti SamraMary Ann BayntonMyWorkplaceHealth

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