This week in our house, we had our regularly scheduled blow-up about the origins of mankind. These discussions happen on a semi-regular basis but it seems that every 3 months or so the conversation really heats up.
Questions like: Is there is a God? What about the dinosaurs? Is our spirit really a spirit or just our subconscious mind? Or is that the same thing?
My husband and I come at these questions from polar opposite points of view. I was raised in a culture steeped in conservative Evangelical values, where anything but Christian was the devil. He was raised in an environment where values didn’t stem from religious beliefs and there was no expectation of what faith you affiliated with. If anything there was an assumption there would be no affiliation.
Some pointed differences:
My upbringing told me that I had to marry a Christian. His upbringing could care less what I did on Sunday morning.
My upbringing was laden with fear… of breaking the rules and punishment if you did. In his upbringing, fear was not something that was there to control you.
This week as we hashed out our differences… in upbringings, worldview, trigger points, and communication styles (oh my!)…
I realized that my travels through Thailand were not for naught; ‘Same, Same, but Different’ rings true again.
Yes we are different, but we want the same thing.
Our differences lie in a combination of things.
For starters, the basic mathematical principle of the Mode: We are both the average of the people we spent the most amount of time around growing up.
Then there’s our innate personality type: He is a J on the Myers-Briggs scale; where if it’s not black, white, or a neat row of logical zeroes and ones, his head hurts. Me? I live in a world where fifty shades of grey makes perfect sense to me.
And don’t discount the fact that when he finds out our sun is spinning in spirals around some other planet/object/universe, his calls me in from whatever I’m doing with the excitement of a kid at Christmas in his voice. And I’m left standing there trying to find a way for ‘frankly my dear, I could give a damn.’ to sound like I really care. And when I can’t stop talking about how life changing the idea that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have!, he nods his head and smiles and then goes back to watching David Attenborough.
Yet we are both asking for the truth. For the capital-T Truth; the indisputable laws of life including physical laws of gravity and e=mc2, and the spiritual laws such as life follows death (hello butterfly).
And being on the journey for capital-T Truth, we have to respect what is true for ourselves and each other in the moment… that where each of us is on our journey is real and true for us, and not something the other person can dispute or take away.
For me, if you are asking for the Truth, you’re good to go. You may not have found it yet, but it will find you. And I’m convinced that it knows enough to find you in the way that works for you. Why would it show up in Greek when you only speak Russian?
And so why would I only be able to find truth in nature shows when I’d rather be reading Brene Brown?
So here’s my encouragement to you today:
It’s likely that somewhere in your life you feel a disconnection, and the blatant differences between you and a loved one are staring you in the face. It might keep you up in the middle of night, make you want to punch a wall, or it’s why you cry yourself to sleep.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that the disconnection is just a figment of your imagination, or that all you have to do is change your thoughts. No, the disconnection and the differences are real. You are two different people.
The disconnection doesn’t have to stay there forever.
A different lens helps to see where the similarities are. Even if it’s a tiny speck, it is the place to plant a seed.
This is what helped me/us this week and maybe it can help you too. It boils down to two things.
1. Owning your story
2. Finding the common goal
Owning your story:
- Understand where the differences come from. Eg I am personality type A vs I am personality type B
- Understand how you think and communicate differently. Eg I need to connect dots and see patterns vs I need the final answer shot straight between the eyes
- Understand your triggers. Eg I shut down to closed-ended questions vs I blow up when I don’t get a straight answer
- Remember where you came from. Eg I came from a heavily religious background vs I went to Sunday School because that’s just what you did.
- Check in with where you are now in your story. What Chapter are you living? Eg I am at a place where I’m unraveling and dissecting everything from my past and deciding what I want to keep and what I want to throw away vs I am building off of a clean slate.
Finding the common goal:
- Where do we both want to end up? Eg Truth, Peace, Love, etc
- What do we want for each other? Eg space to grow, curiosity, encouragement
Once you’ve given this some thought (and fyi some of those answers may not show up right away), chances are you can find a way TOGETHER, to fill in the gap from A (where you each are at in your own story) to B (your common goal).
And then maybe your quarterly blow-ups can look more like quarterly peace-talks. Except that, that whole death brings life and fire burns off the old thing still stands true; so maybe the blow-up is just inevitably necessary 🙂