How to Embrace the Differences in Your Relationships
MAUDE: I am a firm believer that we can change the world by spreading peace one relationship at a time. The reason I am so sure that this works is because I have personal experience that it does. The kind of living peace that Phil and I enjoy has changed the way I relate to everyone else. Not only do I find myself acting differently in all my relationships, but there is a feedback loop that occurs where those who are treated more lovingly, more respectfully and more appropriately, change and start to do the same.
What seems to make a profound difference is the true understanding that we are all unique individuals and at the same time we are all connected in a familial way. Why is this such a crucial understanding and how can it change how we relate to each other?
When I look at you and in my core know that you are a unique being, and not just a slightly different version of me, everything changes. I am much less likely to expect you to do what I do, think what I think or express yourself as I do.
This does not mean we do not share the same core values and cannot be in full harmony while being separate and individual. We can be in a full loving relationship without the need to change or alter the other person. When we are accepting of another being with their differences of behavior from ours, our world becomes a richer, more colorful place with many more possibilities.
With couples and those sharing living space, this requires a deep sense of the connection when confronted with different desires of how to do something or what to decide. We have addressed our process for handling this and you can find it in our archives under mutual solutions, core values or our process. Phil and I have developed an easy dance of coming together and being apart that flows between us while we are always clear and aware of our connection. Each of you can do this differently and find a way that works for you to accept the uniqueness and separation while honoring the togetherness.
One of the most important aspects of really understanding how individual and unique we all are and of making this a basis for how you relate to others, is that it only takes you to change how the relationship goes. This applies to every relationship you have. When you alter your approach and acceptance of others, it will change you and as I have mentioned above, it will change the person you are relating to as well.
I have found that as I do this, a deep inner change is occurring. I feel happier, more peaceful and more centered. Slowly, the thoughts that I don’t really identify with but that still pass through my mind, are disappearing. I am acting in alignment with my actual values and the results are that I am at peace with my thoughts and actions.We are all unique individuals and we are all connected in a familial way #relationships #quote Click To Tweet
PHIL: There is a remarkable quality to our relationship that stems from the understanding that Maude is different from me and has a world of her own that is just as rich and real as mine. Her ideas and experiences and desires are just as real as the ones that I have, and just as valid. She has the same understanding in return, and this recognition of equivalence means that there is no conflict between us. We can disagree on goals, timing, where to eat; it may bring up all sorts of emotions in me, but there is no conflict in the sense that I am trying to control or change her. Certainly we negotiate on goals, timing and where to eat, but the recognition of equality gives these discussions a character, not of struggle, but of meeting another person who is at the same time, different and my peer.
There is a strong sense of connection, of there being a “we” that is that connection. When we talk about this, each of us agrees completely with the other’s description, even if the words are different. We are talking about the same experience.
I think this understanding that every other person has their own rich interior life has been growing my entire life. How much did I have it at 15? 30? 45? Being with Maude has been a wonderful opportunity to look at and develop the sense that she is her own person, and writing about our relationship has been a great way to increase my recognition of it.
Ideally I am this way with everybody: people I know, people I meet, people in the media. I am a long, long way from perfect (see bad drivers and bad politicians), but I’m trying to see them as acting from their own interior world. I’d like to think that when I can do this for someone, they recognize it on some level and feel seen and heard.
Photo credit: Maude Mayes
Photo note: Neighbors of ours
Read what some other writers have to say on this topic.
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