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Ruffling Your Feathers

 “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value not matter what their color.” – Maya Angelou

Standing outside near Belize Bank a few days ago, I witnessed two pigeons. Their beaks were locked together as they danced around in a circle. Eyes wild and beady, they circled, bobbing their tiny heads up and down. The bigger bird whose feathers were ruffled- as though upset seemed to be the ring leader. After about 20 seconds they detached beaks and resumed their pecking for daily bread as though nothing had happened between them.

Looking on, I thought were they kissing or fighting? It was hard to tell. It seems in relationships the line between love and war can be very blurry. The one you love has a tendency to upset you the most, pushing your buttons like no one else can.

Accepting your partner as your “other” seems simple enough, but from my experiences, it seems people have great difficulty accepting each other’s differences without judging. There is always something wrong with the differences. Something needs to be changed or fixed.

Truth is, everyone lives in his own unique world and sees things differently. Whether we agree with it or not, we all suffer from some degree of tunnel vision which leads to blaming that can undermine intimacy.

When feathers get ruffled it is important to remember “your partner is not you.” We assume others think the way we do, and when they don’t, we are sure they are wrong. We constantly need to remember being different is part of nature’s way to constantly create new improvement in the race. When we can accept the difference in our loved ones we open to an opportunity to appreciate and learn new ways of experiencing life.

Men and women see the world differently. Rather than being egotistical about your opinions regarding the opposite sex, why not extend yourself to understand your “others” view point. Take some time to accept (his) or (her) logic.

For example: Most women are emotionally driven and this alone can block intimacy. Most men have no problem having sex after a fight. Learning the difference between men and women can dramatically improve your relationships. You don’t have to agree, but knowing the difference allows you to accept your love the way they are.

When we blame others and demand things our way we build barriers against love and intimacy. On the contrary when we accept our partners opinions we move to open a new dialogue of communication. We learn to see ourselves through the reflection and accept our full nature. We become strong and tender accepting both our male and female energy that make us whole beings. Breaking away from society’s scripts of what is a man or women’s responsibility we move to sharing and caring.

In today’s changing world, where both men and women work outside the home its valuable to give up the old ideals of what is women’s work and what men “should” do. Care giving is a shared responsibility and is just as important for the man as the woman, especially if you have children.

Below are ways to keep from butting heads and ruffling feathers:

1. Talk to the “Other.” Befriend and learn from the opposite sex. A relationship with the opposite sex teaches is about ourselves as we learn about the differences.

2. Lose the Scripts. Get rid of the ideas you have about what a woman or man should, or shouldn’t do. Don’t put your love in a box hoping they will stay put. The whole aspect of loving someone else is for them to be different and this includes a lot more than what society’s plans are.

3. Listen and be heard. Effective communication skills are necessary if your relationship is going to survive. If there is a hint or vibe that your partner is disconnected or you are unhappy about something, do not ignore those signals or feelings. Approach your mate and suggest an open discussion. Your goal should be to resolve differences, and the only viable way of doing so is through open and direct communication.

Excerpt from “Secrets To Life Book” by Chris Emmanuel
Book available at Chris Emmanuel Art Gallery (Sunbreeze Hotel) and Pages Book Store

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