Love Letters to Humans (no. 40) — on Difference

Relational Joy Practice: Regard for difference

The decision to consider difference—not dismiss, diminish, erase, or punish it, and to recognize difference as valuable… even when we feel uncomfortable or displeased.

I know… this one can be SO HARD. (In my experience so far, it’s also worth it.) I’m repeating myself a bit here: comfort is not a requirement for joy. The work we do to dispel contempt and suspend judgment so that we can connect deeply and experience relational joy is initially wildly uncomfortable at best.

Many of us have learned that difference is something to be feared, erased, punished, destroyed, or exploited. We avoid, attack, defend, and control—strategies that hold an illusion of safety, but ultimately leave us isolated and out of alignment with who we want to be.

If attack, defend, avoid, or control are what we grew up with, what is socially accepted and normative, and what we habitually choose in order to find our stability when confronted with difference, it makes sense that choosing to suspend judgment will feel uncomfortable, unnatural, and difficult to the point of impossibility at first.

I am not suggesting you choose to regard difference at the expense of your own safety and well-being. I am suggesting that habitually prioritizing comfort (your own or others’) over your desire for relational joy may not serve you, and you have other choices.

What peace would be available to you if you chose to regard difference—in yourself and in others—without judgment?

What possibilities present themselves when you regard difference as a gift of vital information that serves you in making wise decisions

Registration for REGARD: an Exploration of Right Relationship is open until December 29th, or until seats are filled.

I also have space for private coaching in the new year. I want to dive deeper into right relationship and practice together in 2020. If you do, too… let’s talk.