The Difference Between Us
You're weird. There, I said it.
Ah, it feels so good to get it off my chest! It's been bottled up inside me for a while now.
I notice it all of the time. You behave in ways I don't expect (and sometimes can't fathom), you say things that are strange and unexpected, and your interests are...unique to say the least. I really don't get you.
But that's what I love about you, people who are not me!
You, the guy I'm dating who is terrified to hold my hand, I'm glad I asked you about it. I can totally understand how you don't want girls thinking that you're being gross and pawing at their bodies (but for my part, I want you to take my hand. It shows me you're interested – because I am).
You, my neighbour upstairs who refuses to make eye contact or acknowledge my presence in any way – although you did hold the door open for me the other day. I still don’t understand you, nor have I been able to even smile your way, but at least I know you don’t hate me.
You, my former roommate who struggled so much between whether or not to go back to your boyfriend when, clearly, your values and beliefs differed so significantly. Well, that I totally get. Relationships are messed up! And people just want to be loved.
That, I get. People do just want to be loved. But I find it rare that we take the time to love others. We’re too busy judging them. And we can’t do both at the same time. The actions of loving and judging are complete opposites.
Judgment doesn’t have time for other people’s needs. I’m so wrapped up in my own to acknowledge the bigger picture, let alone that one even exists! But that’s what love does, takes a look from the other person’s perspective.
Love understands that everyone fights a hard battle. It knows that your experience of pain and mine are the same – no matter how small or large the cause of the pain.
Judgment dismisses you – unless of course you have something I want. Then I’ll just judge you even more out of sheer envy. Or, if I believe I have the upper hand, I’ll gloat to make sure you know it.
But in love, that bigger-picture perspective helps me get a better understanding of your strengths and my limitations. It helps me stay humble and react accordingly. It prevents me from looking like a total self-serving jerk, as we are wont to do when we don’t know any better.
My favourite thing about reacting in love, though, is that it can prevent a lot of embarrassment. When I wait out the situation, reserve my judgment, and truly give others the benefit of the doubt, I often find that people make a lot of sense. I find that people are really quite good, if misguided, or driven by the very same things that drive us all to be less-than-loving human beings.
Judgment just assumes the worst in everyone. But love gives people a chance; to explain, to grow, to learn, to apologize.
To recap, I suppose you could say that I believe, “love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous, love does not brag and is not arrogant… (1 Corinthians 13:4).”
More importantly, love is a reaction we can choose. It’s a pattern of thinking we get into. It’s a habit we form. And it’s really the only way to survive in a world where people are just so strange and incomprehensible.
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