December 18, 2016
Lots of things are easy to know logically but difficult to understand emotionally.
Take, for example, the fact that everyone is different.
It doesn’t take a PhD to understand that idea and to know that it’s true. Basically, no one is the same.
But, to accept it? To really, truly accept this fact and live in continued awareness of it? That is another question.
That is, can we really learn to accept others for who they are? What are the exceptions, if not?
It might sound crazy, but doesn’t this idea speak to the core of virtually all human-to-human challenges?
That is, the fact that others view the world differently can be a big problem for us at times.
This idea can be seen clearly in political and social contexts just by turning on the news. There generally isn’t just one right answer because there isn’t just one worldview.
The idea can be scaled back to its frustratingly simple explanation: Everyone is different.
True, that statement all by itself doesn’t get us very far.
However, when this idea is intermingled with all of our thoughts in every situation, we develop an awareness and an acceptance of others, which is invaluable. From there, we are less likely to be startled by differences and frustrated or turned-off by them.
Instead, we can say, “I already knew that. So, where shall we go from here?” and we can more easily create inroads to collaboration, compromises, and solutions.
Life probably isn’t about only being surrounded by people whom we agree with and who agree with us. If that were the case, innovation would be impractical. We would all agree and nothing would shift.
Instead, we seem encouraged at every turn to challenge our beliefs, test our mettle, adapt to changing landscapes, and thrive in virtual and literal unknowns.
Our strengths are our deepest qualities, which serve as inner beacons in this process. They are the fundamental elements of our core—they are concrete identifiers of who we are and how we view life. These qualities make us different and similar to others, in turns.
When we strive to see people as operating from this core, not out of spite or difficulty, but because it is who they are, it becomes easier to accept them as that: themselves.
Each strength is like a gear in a watch. Any good timepiece has multiple sprockets of various shapes and sizes, and no extra parts. Everything is there for a specific reason. One gear is not better than the other or more important, because each one contributes to the functioning of the whole.
That is the same with us and our strengths. We each have different shaped sprockets to add to the grand scheme. When we begin looking for how the differences in others can help us, as opposed to threaten us, then we are open to options and solutions that were previously unavailable.
What are the five most important qualities in a person?
What are five words that I hope people associate with me?—Kind, generous, loving, funny, etc.
What is the best memory from my life?
Write a letter that you will never send.
Pick one person in your life and write them a greatness letter.
This is a letter that praises them to the fullest—let it be over-the-top and gushing. Tell them every wonderful thing that you have ever wanted to tell them. Let it all out.
Take the letter when you are done and seal it in an envelope.
You may chose to throw it away or recycle it or burn it. The point is to write a letter that has no restrictions, one where you are uninhibited and can say everything that your have ever wanted to say without worrying about how the person will receive it.
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.