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Bridgers: Bridging relationships across cultural and conceptual divides

Updated: Mar 12



By Nora F. Murphy Johnson, PhD


In this blog series, we’ll dive into the 22 changemaker rolesEach of these roles plays a part in driving transformation and working towards a just world in their unique way. We share them to help you discover your own role as a changemaker because supporting changemakers around the globe means creating a more whole, beautiful, and just world.


 

Introduction

Imagine a world where cultures, ideas, individuals, and interest groups exist as solitary islands, surrounded by a vast ocean of differences.


Sometimes, it’s simply the distance that separates these islands. Other times, these waters are troubled by discord and mistrust.


Thankfully, in a world brimming with divisions, there exists bridgers—the changemakers who build bridges that foster co-creation and unity. 


About the Bridger

Bridgers are the architects of the bridges that connect these “islands”, helping them find common ground, collaborate, learn from each other, and work towards common goals.


They’re motivated by a deep sense of empathy, a genuine desire to understand others, and an unwavering commitment to creating a more harmonious world. They are the listeners in a world of noise, the peacemakers in times of discord, and the connectors in a society often divided along the lines of culture, ideology, and nationality.


Their skills are as diverse as the individuals and cultures they bring together. Communication is their most potent tool, used to create connections and mend relationships. Negotiation is their fine art, finding compromise even amidst staunch opposition. Bridgers can see and understand multiple perspectives and ambitions. They immerse themselves in the rich diversity of cultures, learning and respecting viewpoints from around the world. They’re empathetic souls, capable of truly listening and hearing. They also possess an innate ability to find common ground where others might only see differences.


Bridgers are patient in a world that often prizes haste over understanding and efficiency over depth—preserving peaceful relationships in the face of turmoil. When conflicts arise, they’re the peacemakers facilitating resolutions with grace. Their emotional intelligence is finely tuned, allowing them to navigate the complex web of human emotions with finesse. Their networks are vast and built through trust and authenticity.


Inner Work for the Bridger

As with all changemakers, bridgers must focus on their inner work over time to be effective. 


Bridgers are the connectors across various cultures, ideologies, and social spheres. As they move through their role, they can sometimes experience an identity crisis, pulled in different directions and feeling the need to wear multiple masks. They can potentially lose themselves, which is why it’s imperative for bridgers to cultivate an integrated identity.


Integrated identity is when an individual has successfully combined, harmonized, and embraced every facet of their being into a unified self-concept that remains unwavering, regardless of the social context. Achieving an integrated identity can contribute to a greater sense of fulfillment, self-acceptance, and overall well-being as individuals navigate their lives with a more cohesive understanding of themselves.


By cultivating integrated identity, bridgers can move with authenticity and strength, regardless of where their bridging role takes them.


Conclusion

Let’s recognize, celebrate, and support the bridgers among us because they are the changemakers who bridge connections and maintain unity in our world.



 


Want to learn more about the bridger? Read their full profile here!


Want to discover what kind of changemaker you are? Head to our website to take the changemaker assessment!


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