Ten Ways Growing Up First Generation Helps You Understand People Better
1. You have a way of making people feel better. You remember what it’s like to be outcasted or judged negatively (or offensively), so you never want to make someone else feel that way.
2. You see through the superficial layers & get to know a person for who they are. Instead of focusing on differences, you focus on similarities of multifaceted people. There were times that other people saw you as “different” even though you didn’t feel any different or even realize you looked that much different. I mean, we’re all human, right? I don’t look at myself from the outside in–I look inside out, so the same empathy applies towards others.
3. Which brings us to #3: EMPATHY. Being able to make yourself FEEL what someone else goes through and understanding them on a deeper, more intuitive level.
4. You connect with people of all generations & backgrounds. Being the 1st generation in your family born into this country means knowing what it’s like to grow up integrated with all different cultures. You bridge this world with “old world.”
5. Language barriers don’t exist to you. This goes with the above. You’re so used to being in an environment with multiple languages that you don’t see cultural differences or different languages as a barrier to friendship, relationships, or finding common ground to get along with people. But hey, you’re probably multilingual, anyway!
7. You’re super open-minded. You can be accepting of something without agreeing or understanding them. Everyone has something they cherish and it might not make sense to everyone else, but it’s special to them. Maybe “old country” expressions or superstitions aren’t logical when translated, but you can appreciate that not everything has to make sense to be valued. If people like it, they like it. If they want it, they want it. Once you accept their personal tastes, you can start understanding why they do the things that they do.
8. You can have differences and still share a common struggle. Maybe you don’t enjoy someone else 100% of the time, but you can still see how you are both fighting the same battle together and on the same team.
9. You can see the bigger picture. Knowing how hard your family worked to give you opportunities they never had instills you with a mixture of gratitude, selflessness, guilt, pride, & determination. You wanna keep the trend going, give back, and provide more and more opportunities for everyone else after you. They didn’t work that hard for nothing! Your family had to start completely over, so they sacrificed a lot if it meant it was better for the whole group. Being able to see how prioritizing values helps everyone more in the long run helps you keep it all in check, and you help others do the same.
10. You put quality of life in perspective and want to give that to everyone else. You know that life is short. You heard real stories about what people had to go through in escaping whatever dangerous situation was going on back home, and you learned about people who weren’t as lucky in escaping. You do things for the right reason, speak up when something’s wrong, and put the principles first.
So thank your immigrant parents for giving you the ability to look into new worlds. The courage they’ve raised you to value is the key that opens those doors! You can do anything–just like they’ve told you!