I’ve always been instinctively attracted by who’s different from me.

It always makes me smile when my mum tells how, as a child, I wandered alone among beach umbrellas making friends in a natural way with people of every age.

I don’t remember clearly those situations but I do remind sharply the feeling while running into people: curiosity!

When they seemed so different from me, when they dressed or behaved in ways that were not the „usual“ ones I lived with everyday, this simple expression ticked in my head: „coool“.

Cool, not because I always liked what I was seeing, not because it was particularly trendy, but simply because I found incredible to discover that the same event could be approached in so many different ways.

As time went by, I’ve have observed and learned so many times how it is easy to fall in the trap of thinking that my perception of things was the same of other people around me: my first ragout at the restaurant seemed to me a different plate from the one eaten at home for years, the rules given to me that I respected and fought were so different from the ones of my classmates, the business meetings where you say something but understand that the person in front of you is taking a total different meaning.

Today, when new people I meet tick a strong reaction, I know there are behaviours that don’t make me feel fine at all and from which I prefer to get away, and others that will open me the gates of worlds of diversity from which I can learn new perspectives.

And so it was when I met her: Laura.

We worked in the same company for years saying at most „hello“ one another in the corridors. Then, time later, I found her again in the classroom the first day of my Coaching Master.

She’s all over different from me, on first glance: physically, in the way she dresses, in her gestures, in the way she approches and relates to others.

She showed up confident, efficient, concise to the group and let slip out few of her inner world.

I smiled and thought: interesting..

After all I practised a lot, 17 years of marriage with an introverted engineer refine senses.

And it was interesting indeed. We sat next each other, one weekend a month and it was wonderful:

  • SHE raises her hand and, in two seconds, makes those things that terrorise me and that I never feel good enough with
  • I peacefully share things and face topics while she looks at me as if to say „Not even if I knew you since 100 years“
  • SHE naturally faces those excercises for which I have to get my ass kicked
  • I love those exercises that seem universes far away from her
  • SHE wakes up at 5am in order to train and she’s a marathon runner
  • I have the biorhythm of a sloth and I trudge while traning in the morning
  • SHE makes herself known one centimeter at time and, if you hug her without being in confidence, she grows stern as a log.
  • I talk even with the tables and I’m a serial hugger

Yet both of us deeply love run, move, dance, nights with dear friends, new things to explore and learn, good food, nice wine, books, talking straight and authentic laughs.

I know that everytime we face and share a topic, her interpretation and her approach will let me learn something new or discover something that was already part of me but I kept muted because it was scary to face it.

It’s also thanks to her if I question myself or appreciate what comes natural to me and I take for granted.

The diversity that can bother us at a first glance can teach us a lot about our beliefs, our closed attitudes and our reactions.

Today, eight months on since the Master ended, we‘ve shared tears we kept hidden for 40 years, we went for a run, we went hiking and we’ve started a business project together.

Today she leaves for a four months journey and last weekend, she came in Zurich to hug me.

I’m grateful for all she gave to me, being so different but still so close.

What seems so different may not be so if we allow ourselves to feel the beauty of knowing it.

Have a safe trip Laurita, maybe the next one will be together!

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