Breaking Social Barriers


 

What’s really holding us back from understanding each other more?

man far in water
image: Joshua Earle
Do you ever find yourself stuck to the same people, out of comfort more than willingness, and letting that get the best of you? I do, in a way that it limits who I can connect with. The ideas of what types of people I’m able to connect with and who I just don’t understand, often create social barriers that I deep down inside wish I could break through. Today, I’d like to think out loud some of the ideas that might help us become the bigger versions of ourselves.
So what does it really mean to have social barriers, and in relevance to our expressions in music and the media? I’d like to think it’s our belief that our identities have limited powers. That, somehow, our souls have been mapped out to only connect best with certain types of people with certain experiences and backgrounds. But, our core belief when we work on our creations still lies in the hope that music and expressions transcend that restricting aspect, doesn’t it? So let’s explore how to get to that next dimension.

5 Steps To Deeper Connections

  1. Practice Mindfulness
    Now, I know this concept often goes in the counseling and wellness/therapy world. I’ve once received this recommendation during my therapy session myself. At the time, I looked into it a little bit, and never practiced it afterwards. It sounded spiritually fancy to me, fancy, in that it sounds good but might not convert into actual usages in my own life. But I was wrong. Mindfulness simply means being aware. Awareness, of course, means you’ll be present in the current. Because if you’re looking to the past, you’re contemplating. If you’re looking to the future, now, that’s wishing or preparing. But to make the best of the current that is present in front of you, around you, and in you, that is awareness. If you search into how you interact with what is here now, that is a start of insights into your identity.
  2. Perceiving Your Own Identity
    Use new info from #1 to look into how you perceive your own identity: Do you constantly judge yourself a certain way? I’m too much of this, I’m too little of that, etc. Where is it coming from? And when you think in such a way, what starts to happen or get triggered as consequences? Is there a way to adjust those thoughts that are limiting you? Would you take practical tangible steps like writing things down in some type of format, like one sentence involving your thoughts per day or every few days in a journal, and such? Maybe even quotes or short poems? What are some of the things you are open to trying or starting, in order to take visible steps in knowing where you stand about, well… you, yourself?
  3. How is this Affecting You?
    How does that view on your own identity affect how you perceive others? Because you’re thinking that you are a little too less or a little excessively too much of something, does it lead you to perceive others in a very specific way, so specific to the point that it isn’t helping you just categorize people into social sockets, but judge them before you know them? Maybe you can work on whatever exercise or weekly activity that you chose in #2, and then everytime you hit an epiphany, write down how your own identity’s view affects your connection with those people, maybe in your own family, close circles, or certain categories you create about people stereotypically. Are there any tendencies you notice? How do they relate to your past experiences, maybe even socially traumatic events you’ve had? I know it’s not easy at all to look into these things. For me, it’s phases where I was bullied or talked about in a ridiculed way socially. In that, looking into how I still perceive certain people as my social dangers can be traced back to it. But, will I remain in the same place? Or can I start relating to those certain types of people in unexpected ways? It’s a spiritual, emotional, and mental journey worth looking into.
  4. What do you judge about?
    …those people that you categorize. We all have people we categorize. Even if it is non-judgemental, there is a side to everyone that groups certain people in our minds for convenience reasons. Now, here comes the hard part. Can you categorize and group without judging them to be a certain way? If you do judge, what can you actively emotionally search so that you’ll understand the people socially more than stereotype them to disadvantage? This is very evident in the music world, too. Classical people who tend to like quiet Classicals only might not understand people in the Death Metal world. People who only listen to Hip-Hop hard core, might not understand EDM/Pop or even Candy Pop type of music. But then you realize Orchestral Metal exists. And Trap Rap exists, which combines digital/pop dance influences and the rap world. There are always barriers, until that vital social mixture takes place. So what’s scaring us from understanding each other more? It’s something we need to take conscious efforts towards to become better abled to reach out to others that may be on the other end of the scope of things, especially in social groupings.
  5. Make Unexpected Friends
    It’s okay to start small. For example, through social media, blog comments and meetup groups. There’s no need to make the leap so scary that you’re just out on the street saying hi to people that look the most different from you. You can always start considering the smaller steps. Leave a friendly comment on an Instagram page, that you’d usually stay away from but is actually interested in. Notice what intrigues you. Don’t force it either. As long as you keep your heart open, new interests that surprise you are bound to happen naturally. Let that flow take place. Don’t resist it, but don’t force it that you’ll dislike it. Let the world speak to you, so that you might know it was probably a connection that was bound to happen in your life sooner or later, only because you allowed it.
We all want to grow, don’t we? I don’t believe that there’s anyone who’d say, I don’t ever want to grow. Everyone in their own ways wants to become the best versions of themselves. And there’s an ever-present beauty in that. That somehow we are all connected through that thought. Now all we have to do, is to find ways to present and display this type of connection to the world through our songs and other forms of artistic expressions, with the belief that these spiritual talks can really ultimately change the world. 
Article by Sha O.
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