I think one of the main reasons why relationships can be tough, is because as people we are all different, but it is popular in our culture to wait for a “soul mate” to form a perfect relationship.
As the myth says, when you find this “soul mate”, he or she will be a perfect match for you and loving them will be easy. You will agree on the best place to put sofa in your flat, you will walk and eat at the same speed and share similar tastes.
Finding soulmate is believed to be the main secret, the key to marital bliss. It implies that you have a lot of work to do to find this person, but once you found them – you can rest and enjoy the relationship.
The sad truth of life is that even soul mates can disagree, fight and break up for good, because even soul mates are not identical copies of each other. And once you realize it, you understand that in reality all your relationships are holding on one thing – your ability to accept and handle people being different from yourself.
If your relationship suffers from tiny dramas and conflicts about petty things, it is not because the person next to you is not your soul mate. It is because both of you are making the following mistakes:
Believing that there is only one right
It’s easier for our minds to see the world as black and white. When everything in our heads is already labeled as “right” or “wrong”, our reactions to the outside world become automatic. This is an energy-saving mode for our brain, so it enjoys labeling.
But we all know deep inside of us that the world is not just black and white. The world is very diverse and that is what makes it so beautiful and interesting.
If we think that our way is the only correct way, we inevitably become annoyed by others and feel justified to confront them. But if we see others as “different”, instead of “wrong”, we can easily accept their ways.
“Do not think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It would be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.” – Horace Mann
Thinking that conflict arises because of differences
That’s not really true. When we allow others to be different from ourselves, the conflict doesn’t arise. The conflict begins only with our reaction, irritation and disturbance in our mind, when we see something that we labeled “wrong”.
“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” – Shannon L. Alder
You know it well – it takes two to tango. When we are in the middle of the conflict, we forget that it continues because of our contribution to it. Usually this contribution is the pain that we create in response to the words or actions of the other party.
So it is in our power to stop it, or even better – prevent it, by changing our response. As in dancing, when one partner makes a mistake, but the other one keeps dancing their part, the dance goes on smoothly.
“Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” – Wayne Dyer
Forgetting that conflict is addictive
Have you ever met people who are always unhappy, angry and trying to provoke others? It seems that any little thing can set them on fire and that they can make a scandal out of anything. It’s like they are purposefully looking for any reason to create a fight.
This is because conflict is addictive. By allowing ourselves to fight tiny everyday battles, we turn fighting into our habit. Our brain receives a certain mix of chemicals every time we go through a conflict, and soon we become addicted. If we let ourselves conflict with others too much, we are at risk of becoming drama queens and kings.
We need to remember that the most important result of these tiny dramas is that they deplete our energy and unbalance our relationships. So when a serious problem arises, we are too weak to deal with it properly and the relationship can break.
We can keep our relationships happy and strong by learning to accept people’s differences.