Loving people despite differences

Have you noticed that it's easier to love people in general than it is to love specific people?

It's true for me, at least.

Inside my comfort zone, it's easy to see our shared humanity, and know that we are all worthy of love and acceptance. But start introducing actual people into the situation, and competition, comparison, and judgment can quickly take over.

Do you know the song Secrets by Mary Lambert? For me, this song was a case in point. (You can listen to it here or read the lyrics.) 

Basically, her message is this: she is done hiding. She proceeds to list, one by one, all of the things she's felt embarrassed about and been judged for in her life. "Take that!" she says to her insecurities. I own you. You don't have power over me any more.  

I often do the same thing in my blog posts, and I know how empowering it can be. But interestingly, when I first listened to Mary Lambert do it, I didn't like it.

The problem was that her confidence made me self-conscious. And the more specifics she shared, the more anxious I got, because it became obvious how different we were. Being different means being rejected, said a worry left over from childhood. Clearly, we couldn't both be okay as we were. 

Ironically, listening to her song brought up the same insecurities in me that she was singing about overcoming. 

And then I remembered: It's not about me. What she says, does, thinks and feels is not a threat to my values or identity. Her life doesn't mean anything about me at all.  

Once I realized that, I could stop worrying about whether I was okay and simply appreciate her. What a cool human being! What amazing courage and perseverance it must have taken her to get where she is. And what a totally fun song to add to my playlist.

At the Family Gathering Workshop next month, we'll be working with some of the same principles, but applied to people we have a lot more history with. We'll explore:

  • How can we remember the humanity and worth of everyone in the room, despite our differences?
  • How can we appreciate our family members for who they actually are, and show up fully as ourselves, too?
  • How can we remember that, no matter how closely we're related, what others do and say is not about us?

These are questions you can think about on your own, of course, but I've got to say there is a special collective wisdom and energy in groups that is hard to replicate. Not to mention, committing to a workshop means that you'll actually take the time to do it!

Will you please come? I think you will be glad you did. Friends and family members welcome too.

Register here by Sunday, October 30th and you'll even receive a free Family Gathering Survival Kit.