Be Right or Be Close: Choose One
Despite our commonalities, it’s inevitable that, even with those we feel closest to in the world, we will have differing perceptions, opinions, and interpretations about life and about the world. Sometimes these are very minor things, such as using dryer sheets or not using them. But if we are not aware of when it comes up, we may feel a sense of minor irritation in such matters, let alone with differences connected to our most cherished views.
It makes it easy if we have a lot of things in common, but we should not be surprised when we don’t. Particularly as we grow older, we become more defined in our tastes and opinions, more definite, which can make itmore difficult to remain close. At the same time, closeness is still possible. To be close, we have to learn to be very mindful of those areas where we see things different. We don’t have to abandoned cherished beliefs to be close, of course. If we try to do this, the psyche will rebel, since it will feel like a loss of self. But these situations do call for us to be very mindful, to take care of our arising emotions, and to attempt as best we can to understand the other’s point of view.
Even where we differ in many ways, this can be a very important growth path. In place of the soup of undifferentiated ego mass, we can learn the art of relationship to the other as other, even if at a deeper level we know unity.
Useful phrases here are: “The way I see it…” “I could be wrong, at the same time…”
But most importantly remember that clinging to views and opinions and our need to be right is one of the most toxic things we can do in an important relationship.
This is a different, more mature and differentiated kind of closeness, and constitutes a deep spiritual and psychological practice.