How do we balance out what we want with what others want ?
Doesn’t this just have to be the biggest question we all face as human beings?
Getting what we want, living the life we want, but getting on with others when they might want something quite diifferent from us.
It happens in families, at work, in politics, in religion, in race, everywhere we interact with others. We are social animals, wanting to belong, and then at the same time we get really annoyed with people and don’t want them around. How contrary!
So how do we work it all out and find the perfect answer?
The first answer is that we don’t. Our lives are perpetually evolving. We have to find beauty in the flaws, the challenges the imperfections and the journey both rocky and smooth. Absolute perfection, absolute order, 24/7 happiness is an illusion.
I’ve got neighbours who are very different from me, but we have got on really well for the best part of 20 years.
We don’t live in each other’s pockets like good friends, but we don’t ignore one another either. There have been times we have hung out a lot, and times where we have not said much to each other for days or weeks.
We have not always agreed on things, and in fact sometimes we have some very different and opposing views on things. But we get on. Some where along the line, we have built a deep mutual respect, a respect of difference, and a respect for what we share in common.
There is a love, and you can say in a certain way, it is an unconditional love, the kind you have in families where you might not get on, might not have everything in common, but you are family, and you love one another.
Seems to me to Love Your Neighbour should come from a place of love, of respect that does not mean going out of your own way to the point you are not doing or living the way you want to.
Loving Your Neighbour is being free to disagree with them, to be annoyed by them, to live a totally different life from them, and not tolerate them out of obligation or avoidance because you feel you SHOULD. It will never work.
So the answer to achieving world peace with a better community of diversity in thinking, lifestyle, beliefs, ethnicity and ability is accepting that we always all be different from one another. And in fact we would probably hate it if we were all exactly the same, surely we would be like robots!
As the great community builder, Peter Block puts it:
” Dissent is the cousin of diversity; the respect for wide range of beliefs.
This begins by allowing people the space to say “no”.
If we cannot say “no” then “yes” has no meaning.
Each needs the chance to express their doubts and reservations without having to justify them, or move quickly into problem solving.
“No” is the beginning of the conversation for commitment.
Doubt and “no” is a symbolic expression of people finding their space and role in the strategy.
It is when we fully understand what people do not want that choice becomes possible.
The leadership task is to surface doubts and dissent without having an answer to every question.”