Funny thing…so many people think that being different from them is a big deal–some even think that it is something we should apologize or even die for–and our differences are so very small!

It is important for us to be able to discern the difference between a bear and a bunny. It is important for us to be able to recognize a gun whether or not we can rattle off it’s name and caliber. But we place way too much significance on the little differences between other people and not enough on the one fundamental difference between them and ourselves–they are not us and therefore we have ZERO ownership of them and ZERO call to try to change them..

Tulips-smallThe most significant reason to distinguish other people from one another is to know whether we already know ourselves in relationship with them or not, and “not” represents an opportunity for us to broaden our horizons and get to know them so that we may have a greater understanding of exactly who we are by seeing more clearly who we are not. This is not so that we can judge them or try to make them act like us; it is so that we can evaluate our own experience in a meaningful way by comparison to our perception of the experience of those around us.

Being “in relationship” with someone, even to the extent of being “IN A RELATIONSHIP” with someone does not constitute ownership. You still have ZERO call to try to change that person because you are still yourself and not them. You are free to work on yourself as much as you want; You are free to invite them to participate in activities that represent a change for you; you are even free to hope that working on yourself will inspire them to work on themselves; but if you work on that person, even if they seem to change, the change isn’t genuine. It doesn’t reflect who they actually are, but is instead a twisted mirror of who you are. They might wear it for awhile, but eventually it will irritate them enough that they will cast aside your narcissistic illusion of who you think they should be. This kind of detour from self determination and personal responsibility is counterproductive for all concerned.

Being different from each other is what we have in this life. As individuals we are defined by our differences. Resenting and even hating our differences shows a profound lack of self worth. If we are secure in ourselves, we are never threatened by how other people are not us, because we’re just fine with being unique.

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