Differences

 

People say that “opposites attract.” We can be captivated by finding in others what seems foreign. An introvert may be attracted to the outreaching energy of an extrovert – who, in turn, may be fascinated by the inner focus of the introvert. Similarly, a dreamer and a practical person – or an intellectual and an emotional type – may be drawn to one another.

Yet often the very differences that are initially attractive end up being a big source of conflict. Differences turn into a subject for arguments, judgments, and upset. At that point, we begin to find fault with each other’s unique traits, viewing them as character deficits. The introvert and extrovert argue over what is appropriate social behavior. The dreamer and pragmatist battle over fantasy versus reality. The mental type is put off by certain emotions of their partner – who, in turn, blames them for being aloof and unfeeling.

The card DIFFERENCES invites you to reflect on this strange quirk in relating, and suggests another way to view differences in your relationship. How are you and your partner different? Look at your differences as you would view the unique colors and shapes of two kinds of flowers. Each individual flower is a perfect creation of nature. The flowers are not identical, but is one of them “right” or the other one “wrong”? Does one of them have to change? Do they need to be identical?

You and your partner are like such flowers. Open your heart, just as flowers open to the sun, and begin to appreciate and respect your differences. Accept that we are all different. Accept that our separate histories have led us each to adopt our own unique characteristics, attitudes, traits, and ways of expressing ourselves. Instead of arguing over who is “right” and “wrong,” come to see how you are both all right the way you are. See each of you as a flower, each with its own beauty, each a natural product of its own history.

There is a special secret about differences – especially ones that upset you. You can actually use them as a vehicle for your own personal growth. Your partner, in how they are different from you, shows you a quality or trait that you underexpress. They are giving you a chance to learn this trait for yourself. You can learn to express it in a way appropriate for you. In doing so, you will expand your freedom and abilities.

We learn many of our traits from others, adapting what we see in them to fit our own personal style. We do much of this unconsciously, in childhood. But now, by being different from you, your partner shows you parts of yourself that you missed developing earlier. In doing so, they are giving you a chance to claim this potential and expand the repertoire of who you are. How willing are you to learn from them?

Remember this opportunity whenever you start to judge your partner for being different from you. Remember that their differences are a gift; they are giving you a chance to broaden yourself. Whether or not you are ready to act on this chance, you can still appreciate the gift they are offering you. At the very least appreciate that their ways of being are as valid for them as yours are for you. Open your heart, and give your partner the right to be different. In fact, even learn to celebrate your differences!