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Respect begets respect. In a culturally diverse universe, cultural awareness unites people and makes everyone feel accepted and understood.

Technological advancements, communication, and societal progress unite people, but diversity still manages to separate them. Despite these facets bridging islands and drawing communications and interactions closer, some aspects of humanity spotlight their differences and provide critical space to spark arguments and misunderstandings.

Culture is among the consequential contributors to these evident distinctions.

It comprises most people’s identities and beliefs, molding them to become who they are. Culture is something that can’t be disregarded in relation to interactions and forging relationships.

People must assess their cultural awareness to connect in a highly globalized world successfully. They must understand what makes people different and honor these differences when interacting. Forging genuine connections calls for everyone’s consciousness of their similarities and differences, allowing these to influence their behaviors and cater to what each culture has standardized as respectful. How does one do this?

Understanding Dynamic Values and Cultural Diversity

Everyone is unique, holding to different standards and values despite sharing the same culture. However, these differences are exacerbated when juxtaposed with distinctive cultural practices. Unfortunately, not everyone finds it easy to understand and acknowledge these differences. Most of the time, people tend to compare everyone with their standards. This is why they question individuals who practice a different belief system or those who behave differently.

Cultural awareness bridges this gap and eases this apprehension by encouraging everyone to learn and honor other community’s lifestyles, ethics, and beliefs.

In the Untold Architectural book by Ronald Lee Harden, readers are extensively introduced to Tampa, Florida’s cultural and economic circumstances. Although the book’s focus primarily spotlights the author’s architectural achievements throughout the area, it also tackles the culture’s changes over time. Not everyone might have witnessed these changes or are interested in knowing about Tampa, but Ronald takes a step forward to share these aspects for people to read about. This way, if they travel to Tampa, people will understand the nuances of their culture.

Such is the importance of cultural awareness. It allows people to take inconsequential aspects of other cultures. Often referred to as cultural sensitivity, cultural awareness, as in the name, means understanding and being aware of the distinctive values within every culture. However, this entails a more profound practice than simply going through and learning about these details. Instead, one must strive to honor and be sensitive to these differences.

Practicing and Strengthening Cultural Awareness

This is the continuous progress of maximizing people’s curiosity and open-mindedness toward others’ beliefs. It’s clearing one’s mind of prejudiced perspectives and taking every piece of information from an optimistic lens. When it comes to awareness, knowing about the differences is a game-changer. It’s the crucial first step that fires people through the process.

However, one must take successive steps and be consistent throughout to continue the journey.

This Isn’t Going to Be Linear

Like every learning process, cultural awareness doesn’t guarantee everyone a linear slope of progression. Instead, it’s fluid and dependent on people’s desire and proactivity to learn about other cultures. It’s not every day that people are curious and open themselves to learning. Sometimes, they might encounter a step back, and it’s okay.

Learning about another culture can be likened to treading in unknown territories. It’s scary, worrying, and often uncomfortable. Hence, people can’t be blamed if they often hesitate to continue or take a detour in their learning progress.

Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Asking questions is imperative in every learning situation. It’s how people gather new information and correct what might be misinformation. Questions are vital in awareness, but despite this being basic logic, people may often fear seeming naïve or lacking in knowledge. However, to become more culturally aware, people have nothing else to do but embrace this knowledge gap. They shouldn’t fear letting others know what they don’t, for this is one way to have their curiosities answered and clarified.

These questions also don’t always have to be thrown at one another. These can be asked personally, internally. People can start their awareness journey by asking themselves how their culture influences their behaviors and how they perceive others with a different practice. By clarifying these, they engage and find common grounds to share and build relationships.

Take a Proactive Role in Educating Oneself

Knowledge doesn’t come to those who don’t do anything. Instead, it goes to whoever seeks it. For people to gain cultural awareness, they must take action and educate themselves.

This is relatively easy in today’s society, with everything becoming accessible and readily available. Information about culture can be easily researched online or scanned in books, even asked by others. However, people must also be aware and conscious about what they’re receiving, as misinformation is as prevalent as authentic information. It pays to hear about culture from people who personally experience it, such as author Ronald Lee Harden. Expanding one’s knowledge through these channels ensures reliable and well-grounded information.

In learning about another culture, one must acknowledge one’s biases before examining another’s. It can be challenging to look at the world through a single and narrow lens, as it influences how one perceives another, different culture.

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