Of Love & Order part 3B: Looking At Similar Differences

818fbb8c-08c6-43cb-9e5b-1f8f8441b053

Courtesy of ginabind.com

Luke 6:37
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger

Starting Matters
For as long as I can remember it has always been the popular belief that it’s not really starting that is important but finishing. Most people familiar with the Information Age (where the existence of being misinformed and disinformed increases the challenge with trust in all types of relationships), should respond to that belief in the same way as they would this one: Knowledge is Power, with Who Lied To You? You see your attitude at the beginning of a task determines its outcome more than anything else, therefore how you begin (in general) does in fact impact how you finish. Seeing that applied knowledge is power (impacting the consequences depending on how that power is used), commencing the right way in your relationship can actually greatly influence how it progresses later on. Too many times people are drawn to and seek out similarities as for hidden treasure to the point that differences are perceived as foreign objects!

Making Inadvertent Mistakes
There was a nice dating show that I watched a few years ago. It involved contestants competing in the jungle as automatically paired couples and later in the main ceremony, empowered with the choice to remain with the pair or choose someone else to be paired with. I remember a question in one of the episodes in season 2, I believe it was called Love In The Wild, a couple asked each other this very question which I know is extremely important for discussion:

What are the biggest mistakes men and women make in relationships?
Here is one for each gender that I thought was really interesting. For the men putting someone (or something) ahead of her is a recipe for disaster. I can personally relate to this. My partner (both in prayer and life), my shining light, my deputy commander, my vice captain, the wisdom of my ways and the love of my life, Nelly Sophia is the important individual I made this mistake with. The worst part was that it was an innocent (continual) action that I did not know was a mistake! She loves to talk every night for as long possible on the phone (because we only see each other once a week) and I would be engaging myself in a myriad of activities by the time she calls. From the moment I pick up the phone, part of my mind would be on the activity and the other part on her. Some friction arose every now and then as you can imagine. Sometimes I made the mistake of requesting for a “night off” so to speak completely unaware of the magnitude of what I was asking. Needless to say this created tension through the appearance of disinterest from the lack of attention given. I have learned that masculine energy is single-focused and targeted towards one purpose and goal, as such it is easy to ignore her (the women) and focus attention on somewhere else, particularly if it is work. Being sensitive to and cognizant of her feelings is not merely a habit that must be formed for creating balance, but a vital necessity.

Now for the women, the mistake they make more than any other (at least in my opinion) is being passive aggressive. Here is the thing on my part. There are times when I can pick this up with Nelly but then later take it as it is (simply because that’s what guys do) to avoid unnecessary assumptions. Having grown up with predominantly female friends I have tried to understand the concept of paradoxical terms with female logic. No means Yes, Yes means No, Maybe means No, We need to talk means I need to Complain, Sure go Ahead means I don’t want you To. This is a field I chose not to set foot on (in attempting to understand it) because I realized that life may possibly be complicated. That is definitely so in a relationship and women will do very well to acknowledge the easy-mindedness of the men and how very straightforward every word will be taken. The wisest move is to never under any circumstance be passive aggressive. Ladies say what you mean and mean what you say.

Different Is Not Wrong
To be honest I do not know why I titled the post what it is because I hate it when people use the term “same difference.” I thought I got a handle on it ever since coming across it the first time, but I wanted to really make sure that I had a good grip on it. It actually  is “an idiomatic oxymoron [Oxford Dictionary Online]. It effectively means. Whether these two choices are the same or different is immaterial to me.” There is an element of indifference in that which can spell DANGER should it ever so much as cross the minds of any individual in a relationship. The main factor to consider is that being different is not automatically a bad thing. To perceive it this way puts a whole new meaning to Opposites Attract. I personally am multicultural and I love this about myself because I get to see people appropriately differently than most would as a result of observing everything from a non ethnocentric point of view. Appreciating people for who they are just as they are and learning how they conduct themselves and honouring that by being a part of it for the sole purpose of maintaining a strong relationship is crucial. In an intimate heterosexual relationship that is standard. The key thing in moving forward in spite of differences is perspective. Get in your partners shoes, see things from their angle and learn from reflective thinking (taking the time to contemplate the situation logically [bird’s-eye view] not emotionally [stuck in traffic view]).

In her book Battlefield Of the Mind Joyce Meyer exemplifies (on overcoming  judgemental, critical and suspicious thinking) the value of my last point. She says

My husband and I are extremely different in our approach to many things. How to decorate a house would be one of those things. It isn’t that we don’t like anything the other one chooses, but if we go out to shop for household things together, it seems Dave always likes one thing and I like something else. Why? Simply because we are two different people. His opinion is just as good as mine, and mine is just as good as his; they are simply different.

If your friend/partner is from a country where they drive on the other side of the road from what you are used to, it’s not wrong! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard how Americans drive on the wrong side of the road and vice-versa towards Africans. Using chopsticks instead of regular cutlery is good. Fancy dining on the floor instead of a table? Even better.  I asked my friend if she ever had a relationship with someone who was the total opposite of her. She said that’s her best friend. Use your differences to your advantage. If you can’t get around them, jump over them or go under them, then go through them together!

a-great-relationship-is-about-two-things-first-find-out-the-similarities-second-respect-differences

 

Perspective: Seeing Things Differently

A very passionate person on Twitter, Kari Joys, stated something very interesting: “Let the warm glow of the setting sun kiss life’s hurts away.” ~Anon

I have often heard of similar sayings like, “The grass is always greener on the other side and The night is darkest before the dawn. Everyone interprets these differently and each of them have an effect on the way an individual generally looks at life. For me I have often said that life is a movie, in that each of us have a story and we all have those situations that seem impossible to overcome but can be done, and often approach us just as we are about reach and achieve our goal. Our story is something we tell each day and everything that happens to us, happens for a reason. The outcome of that and the way we feel about it is determined by the choice we make at that particular moment in time, in other words, how we choose to see it.

If things are great for our coworkers and they always seem to be doing much better with each passing day, whereas you are experiencing the complete opposite, the impact of such events will determine the kind of person you become. Will you be reactive and throw away opportunities for growth by complaining and being angry, stressed and unproductive, or will you take it a step at a time, think about, analyze and compare what they are doing to what you are doing so as to locate the missing link? The difference in each case is outlined by perspective.

Flip A Coin
I remember in primary school how we settled small but very significant disagreements. Usually the idea of flipping a coin would be to determine who starts something, as is the case in sports, however, in order to solve a case where conflicting points were brought up by both parties, we would flip a coin to see who had the better ability to calculate the probability of the coin falling on the side they thought had a higher likelihood.
Since there are two sides to every coin, each saying has a different meaning to each person. The sunset in general is a very beautiful thing but it can be disheartening if the most painful memories took place during sunset. If the individual were to look at the other side, so to speak, they would see that the beauty of the sunset and the impact it has is determined by them. Will they see the dark side or the bright side?

Beauty In The Eye Of The Beholder
When a person takes a look at a painting, say of a woman running out of a door looking back with a face that seems as though she is wondering if the event has taken place, everyone would see it in their own way. Is she running from someone and hoping she has escaped? Is it from something? Could she be concerned that she forgot something and could not help but take a quick glance? Is there a relief that whatever was tormenting her will not be part of her life anymore? Is she saddened by the thought of leaving a life she embraced so much that with everything she has in that split second, take it all in?

As all these feelings and more take place in your head there is one underlying question: What is so beautiful about that? I like to think it is the element of uncertainty that keeps you lost in a world you create yourself. It all comes down to the way you choose to look at it.

What Is Life?
When my brother came back from doing a film school course in Boston, I asked him what his observations were concerning people’s outlook on life. He mentioned a number of interesting things but then kind of bounced the question back to me. I told him that life is beautiful and it is very good. Personally for me it is a journey mapped out by our decisions. I then went on to mention how most people have the wrong perception of life. The way they see it is based on their current or dominant circumstances. If they had a terrible background, and they are not always heard or understood, they do not perform the best even by their own standards, life becomes dull, boring, pointless and worst of all: unfair. On the other hand if everything was smooth, had a brilliant upbringing, did excellent in school, had a great relationship and a loving and caring family and friends, life is viewed as amazing as a whole. This, unfortunately, is the wrong way to look at life. It must be seen, rather, as a gift that is given to us. A privelege and honor to have. What have you learned from terrible circumstances and how can you use them to encourage someone else through a similar kind? How can you celebrate both yours and someone else’s success and push each other to greater heights? How can you lift yourself up (during your ordeal) through embracing someone else’s success and vice-versa?

My personal life motto is: See what no one else sees. Not in the freaky ghosts and supernatural beings kind of way but more like possibilities for doing what I have never done before, whichever way that comes, and intentionally appreciating what no one else would. I start off that process by always recognizing that no matter how bad they get things can always be worse. In the end they are never really as bad as we lead ourselves to believe.

What do you see?