Differences are important.
Whether those differences are cultural, ethnic, religious, or even something as simple as how you load the dishwasher, our differences with one another, or rather, our objections to those differences, can be a point of contention. We so often are drawn to people like us…who look like us, think like us, act like us. While that is okay and similarities are often a great stepping stone to the start of a relationship, we sometimes think that differences are negative in a relationship or even the cause of conflict.
But what we often forget is that conflict is inevitable. And at Safe Conversations, we believe conflict is just growth trying to happen. Without conflict, nothing changes, gets better, or grows. No matter the nature of your relationship (be it romantic or not) at some point, there will be disagreement – no matter how alike you are. It’s just a part of ALL relationships.
We often perceive conflict as symptomatic of an unhealthy relationship. And while, at times, it can definitely indicate a deeper, more serious problem (which needs to be addressed with professionals), it usually serves us better to view it as an opportunity for growth.
In these moments of conflict or disagreement, instead of running away or shutting down, we can choose to embrace the differences in each other rather than reject them out of hand; we can choose to see how our unique skills, experiences, and strengths can enhance one another and grow the relationship deeper.
At Safe Conversations, we emphasize how important it is to talk without criticism, listen without judgment, and connect beyond differences. It’s a choice we make, and a skill we can learn.
When we model this and pursue this type of dialogue with others, then communication (no matter how difficult the topic) with one another becomes safe instead of stressful.
That’s ultimately what we should strive for: a safe and stable connection that embraces the unique differences and perspectives of each person in the relationship.
When we are willing to accept one another as we are, we usher in the possibilities of relational growth far beyond what we even imagined!