Different means different, not wrong
When my eldest was born and handed to me I noticed the dark hair and had to ask the nurse to repeat what the sex of the baby was because I couldn’t quite believe it was a girl. I was so set that it was going to be a boy with blond hair. Our daughter wasn’t interested in team sports and didn’t pick up an interest in playing an instrument. She is, however, an amazing, brown haired, blue eyed lady who is extremely gifted in art, with a kind and caring heart who is desperate to get out in the world and help build schools and support orphanages in countries that don’t have the same privileges that we have in the UK. She has turned out beyond my expectations. Just because she was different to what I expected doesn’t mean she is wrong.
We make assumptions based on our experience, beliefs and our limited knowledge. Just because something doesn’t meet our expectations doesn’t mean that it is wrong. My children are constantly helping me adjust my expectations!
The differences in people make life interesting; they add richness to life. In order to value specific differences, you need to understand yourself and others, and understand why you are different. In order to manage personality differences, you first need to ‘seek to understand before seeking to be understood’.
Then use your understanding to manage your differences with others to your mutual benefit. Always remember: Different equals different not wrong.
As an exercise of understanding differences why not work through these questions:
- Imagine what a world would be like where everyone thinks, acts, and looks the same. What would the world be like if everyone were like everyone else?
- Some people get frustrated or angry with others who do not think and act like they do. Are there people who you get angry or frustrated with? Identify reasons why you feel like that about them. Are they wrong or just different?
- What would it be like if you could always accept and enjoy the differences between you and others?
- How could you ‘seek to understand before seeking to be understood’ when you encounter differences with others?
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