How Looking at Similarities Rather Than Differences Improves Your Relationships
Your attitude, the position you come from in an exchange, can dramatically change the outcome.
In all your relationships, the issue of whether you put your attention toward similarities or differences plays a big part in whether those relationships are harmonious or acrimonious. It is sometimes a shock to realize that nothing is fundamentally different in these highly polarized positions except your viewpoint. What are you looking at in your relationships? Are you looking at your commonality or do you dwell on the differences between you?
When you are working out things in your relationships and you encounter a disconnect, or tension builds, it’s good to pause and re-frame the moment by looking at similarities rather than differences. It shifts the focus to mutual paths.
This sounds like such a simple thing, and as with so many simple things, it takes doing it to understand it. You see what you expect to see, and you don’t see what you presume isn’t there. With partners, friends and many relations, there are usually more similarities and areas for agreement than points of unresolvable difference.
Any two things have both differences and similarities. There are always differences, because otherwise, they would be the same thing, yet there are always similarities as well, even if it is as basic as something like both consisting of atoms.
Differences catch your attention and you tend not to see similarities #quote #relationships Click To TweetBy looking at the similarities, you can see a united world; looking at differences, you see a divided world where conflict is always implicit, and sometimes is actually happening. Even though we do not have a united world, it is something to dream of and work toward. A divided viewpoint has no such vision of a better situation.
In intimate relationships, although it may not be obvious in the moment, you are usually on the same side and want the best for each other. When you look for similarities in your wants and needs and in your desired outcomes, you will most assuredly find them. Once you do, it often just comes down to working out the methods to achieve your similar goals.
The feelings when you look at similarities are entirely different than when you concentrate on differences. A feeling of connection arises that leads to an awareness that there is a way to come to agreement, one in which the resonance of your similarities carries you through your differences to a place of mutual accord. What it evokes in you will be more pleasant, more peaceful, more productive. You will be more likely to recognize the sense of “we”, the sense of what you both have in common, or more radically, to look at the question of identity and to recognize what you are in common.
Much depends on your intention. As you become more attracted toward having a peaceful relationship, your intention to make it happen will increase. By seeing it in this way, you re-frame how you see the world. When you are looking at things from this perspective, the differences between you are not seen as a challenge but an asset that adds variety and new perspective to your lives.
(Phil says the programming term is WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get.)
Photo credit: Maude Mayes
Photo note: Flowers in Larkspur, CA
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