Wouldn't it be good, learning a skill that reduces that pos-sibility? Embracing differences hon-ors anyone trapped in the web of a contentious relationship, too. It helps when having difficulties with loved ones. This practice prevents the two forms of inauthentic relating: evasiveness and indirect communication.
Can you imagine what it would look like, clearing the air with someone who irritates us? Would it not be great doing so without judging each other? Wouldn't it be encouraging, arriving at answers we never dreamed of?
This practice steers us away from assuming, analyzing, interpreting others. This skill helps us stop assessing the behavior and words of those we relate with. When exercising these four possibilities, we lack being present. We are controlling and manipulating. Ouch!
Embracing differences promotes intimacy. It helps us understand. It lets others know us. It is a truth skill. Using it dis-sipates fears.
We can embrace relation-ships fearlessly. Judgment will not take place. We do not deny who we are. This is something we often do to keep a relationship.
Defining the Skill
Embracing differ-ences is taking in several points of view at one time. We consider them in relation to one an-other. It is listening without judging. It is empathizing with differing opinions.
This skill reminds me of a quote:All the while we remain grounded with our boundaries and perspective.
I add a corollary: we don't want our minds to be so open that our"Our mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open."
This skill is step-ping away from black and white thinking. Typically, we react when an individual has a different perspective. We say they are wrong.
This practice prevents that. In many cases, when there is a differ-ence we think there are only three possibilities. We can flee. We can yield. Or we resort to fighting.
This truth skill provides another option. We expand our vision. We can hold different positions without seeing anyone as wrong. We all fit in, as we are. There are some sacrosanct moral areas: murder, stealing, lying, etc.
They are never right. But other than these moral values and a few others, the sky is the limit.
Our perspective is broadened. We move beyond preconceived notions when exercising this skill. Narrow-mindedness is reduced. Right-sized, we are. We become aware that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, when relating.
In recovery, this is Tradition Two. We operate by consensus---everyone's voice has to be heard and considered before coming to conclusions.
Did you notice what is absent? Dominance, ego and pride. Instead, there is mutuality, reciprocity. We are able to level. We will be more honest.
Using this skill, no matter how old we are, we continue to mature. Authenticity, integrity grows if we keep this perspective. This skill provides a win-win situation. Apart from it, conflict easily arises.
No longer is it our way or the highway. We move beyond passivity, too. It is critical expressing our feelings and needs. Embracing differ-ences is a terrific antidote to the sickness of codependency.
In this post, the subject is detailed. For a one sentence definition, codependency is surrendering our opinions or values because we fear the anger or rejection of another. I no longer suffer from this disease. A slave to it, I was, for decades. Freedom from its shackles happened after working intensely on this weakness of character for three years.
I have maintained this freedom for another nine years. I use re-covery. I attend Al-Anon Family Groups. I take in principles learned from relationships developed within that fellowship. Its literature for-tifies me .
Anne Wilson Schaef's book on this subject is an enormous help. So is the book Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend.