Don’t let someone else’s difference or yours ruin a beautiful relationship you could have had.
The reason I am writing this blog post is because this difference in people has caused me a lot of pain and aided my own character growth. It is a lesson worth having.
Everyone is different. What we know about ourselves and what we love in other people and hate is relative to who we are. It is difficult and painful to us when we are first confronted with difference; I can only imagine it is because that these differences shake our foundations of what we know and what we are comfortable with.
To live by ourselves can be better than living with others at times. I don’t mean in the same house, I am referring to the network of people we build around us. With every friend, loved one or acquaintance we are forced to acknowledged something new and daunting. Have you ever met someone for the first time and been aware of your own flaws and imperfections? Have you ever been on a date and suddenly felt like you need to try to advocate for yourself in light of someone else? Of course you have. It is a beautifully terrifying emotion and pushes you to grow as a person and accept that people will firstly never be the same as you and secondly may harness qualities that you wish you had/didn’t have. Either way, it is unnerving and uncertain but by no means is this feeling negative.
The more people you meet, the more self-aware you will become. The more arguments you have, the more challenges you will face to your own identity. The more you love, the more susceptible to pain you will become. At first it may seem like life is pushing you to judge yourself or others according to what you know about yourself. Surely this person isn’t as good as me because they don’t value the same things that I do or they don’t enjoy long walks on the beach. Surely I am a terrible person because I do not donate my free time to saving baby turtle on the Gulf of California. Just because your interest, characteristics and morals do not perfectly align to another humans does not mean you are not a great person and vice a versa.
The reason I am writing this blog post is because this difference in people has caused me a lot of pain but had also aided my own character growth. To be aware, conscious and tolerant of other people is a true gift, but it takes experiences, effort and empathy to acquire this skill. The reason all of the heartbreak, tears and moments of anger are worth it is because you are rewarded with a diverse and beautiful network of people in your life. I once heard, I do not know if I am reciting this accurately but it is the analogy that carries the meaning, that if the genes of your offspring are full of variety, your offspring will be stronger and better off. I can really see how this equates to social relationships. The more expansive and diverse your intimate circle is, the more opportunities, knowledge and experiences you are exposed to. The qualities that you lack can be found in other people. The qualities that you have will be sought after by those who need them.
For example, the friends in my life do not mirror me in the slightest. I love my friends the same but for many different reasons. They are unique, beautiful and their own person. Yes, they do things that I would never and say things that make me cringe, but I also irritate the fuck out of them. However, it is accepting them for their differences and their acceptance of me that makes our friendship flourish no matter where we are. You may think that your bestie is like your twin, but do you react the same in to sad movies? to outfit malfunctions? to gossip? to baking gone wrong? to sunsets? to love? to arguments?
If you are not willing to accept that people are different and that their likes, wants and needs are subjective to them, then you will never grow a sustainable relationship.
One of my friends is extremely skilled in empathy and can level with anyone they meet and understand their pain. One friend can really love unconditionally and forgive without holding grudges. One friend can confront adversity in the face and endure the pain but come out the other side stronger than she entered it. One friend can criticize more than any of my friends but sadly this also includes herself. One friend radiates a confidence so pure that it is contagious to everyone that she meets. All of the qualities are unique to that one friend and when my friend who is skilled in empathy meets someone who is not, it throws her off and upsets her. Now, she could choose to rule that person out as incompatible with her as they are different OR she could choose to accept that person for who they are and learn from them and have a valuable friend in her life; that person will have something that she doesn’t.
The time when this issue becomes the hardest to confront is when it is in regards to romantic entanglements. Dating to me is essentially searching for a person who you want to smash and who has the least amount of difference to you. Because in your mind, the less differences you face, the less arguments you will have in the long run. This isn’t true. I have dated someone before who was very similar to me but he did not help me grow, he did not challenge me and he did not accept that difference could be cultivated over time causing friction. That is why he has been reduced to an anecdote in my life. I have also dated someone who is completely different to me and my god it has been a challenge – it does not mean we are incompatible. It means we have a lot of growing, learning and accepting to do. This isn’t easy, but if valuable relationships were worth having, everyone would be in one. The truth is, relationships can make you and break you. Not because of the other person, but because of your mindset.
If you are not willing to accept that people are different and that there likes, wants and needs are subjective to them, then you will never grow a sustainable relationship. To appreciate that the person in your life is there to guide, support and accept you is a great starting point for your relationship. It has taken me a long time to find someone who is worth this strenuous effort. You may be asking yourself, if going through so much work is worth it? If you are thinking that in regards to your relationship I can only say that you must not have experienced unconditional love. When you claim to love someone unconditionally, what you are saying is that you love them despite their differences, flaws, traits and the efforts you internally put in to sustain the relationship. You love them because you believe in them and your relationship with them.
The differences do not go away, nor can they be modified to make you happy. But what will happen with time, patience and practice is that they will morph into your own character until they become part of your life together. Introducing your differences to someone you love can be scary and can cause conflict. If you can resolve them and look past them then you deserve the fruits of your labor; unconditional love, acceptance and support. We often hear that opposites attract, it is true, but what they don’t tell you is that it takes real dedication and real love to make that attraction grow. If you find someone worth the tears, doubts and insecurities then you also deserve the best in that person. When the difference are dormant and your love is the only prevalent emotion, you deserve to relish in their affections, kisses and success if you are willing to hold their hand when things get ugly.
I believe there are a few things that you will need to work through your differences with anyone in your life…
- To be able to communicate without fear of what that person might say
- The ability to listen and to understand as oppose to listening to argue
- To trust that you have their best interests at heart and they have yours
- To be vulnerable which is to be strong.
I am happy I wrote this blog post because this is a lesson that I also must practice. Differences are contingent but are very powerful stimulants.
It is how you react and receive these differences that will determine the type of relationship you have with people.
To accept someone’s difference is to break the superficial level of your relationship and allows you to build something substantial.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO THESE BEAUTIFUL HUMANS! THANK YOU FOR BEING IN MY LIFE AND ACCEPTING ME.
See you on the flip side!