Dealing with Differences: When to Accept Them and When Not to

One of the biggest challenges that every couple faces in relationships is dealing with differences.

We all butt up against differences in our relationships because everyone on the planet, all seven and a half billion of us, is different.

We have different thoughts, beliefs, and ways of seeing how the world should be–and that’s a fact.

When you have these different ways of seeing the world, it’s inevitable that differences are going to cause problems because when you see the world one way and you run up against opposing views…

You think at some level that if your way of seeing the world doesn’t materialize, you’re not going to be okay.

And the same goes for your partner.

No one wants to be fixed, changed or manipulated into being someone they’re not.

Most of us believe we’re okay just the way we are.

If we didn’t see things this way, we would change and change quickly.

Even people who say they want to change aren’t changing because at some level, they see the way they are as comfortable and familiar and maybe fearing a change.

As one of our teachers once said, “If you want to see what someone is committed to in their life, look at what’s showing up.”

So how do you deal with differences when none of us truly want to change because we like the way WE do things?

It is an absolute game-changer in relationships when you stop seeing differences as something to be feared, changed and made wrong but rather something that is embraced, accepted and welcomed.

One of the ways to deal with differences is to understand that it’s normal for differences to be there and to welcome them and learn from them.

Easier said than done, right?

Early in our relationship, being business and life partners, we certainly butted heads over our differences about finances.

We were compatible in so many ways but when it came to money and how to spend it, we knocked heads.

It certainly wasn’t an overnight process but over the years, we’ve grown to sincerely ask this question around this issue…

“What can I learn from you rather than make you wrong?”

When you ask this question with love and curiosity instead of blame, something opens inside you to maybe see something new.

You’re not trying to change someone else but rather get a glimpse into how they see the world–and defenses come down.

When we did this, there was an opening to value each other’s viewpoint and we could have an actual discussion instead of judging each other.

For most people, welcoming differences is a really difficult thing to do because they see differences as something to be feared and things to be changed in another.

If you’re fearful that someone is different from you and that is causing problems in your relationship…

Most likely you could benefit from seeing them and this situation they’re bringing to you in a different light from how you’re seeing it now.

Becoming curious about the other’s viewpoint doesn’t mean you agree.

It just means that you’re open to seeing something new and asking questions to find out more.

And through understanding comes connection and deeper love.

Of course there are exceptions to accepting differences…

When you’re being abused in any way or your gut instinct is telling you that your values are extremely incompatible and you want to live your lives in vastly different ways.

Dealing with differences can be the juice that enlivens and enriches your relationship and your love can deepen navigating through them.

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