John Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, reveals that the key to creating and maintaining successful relationships between men and women lies in accepting our differences. By trying to make our partners over in our own likeness, Gray reminds us we destroy what we first found so appealing.
Writing with the compassionate understanding that is his trademark, Gray draws on his wealth of experience from twenty years of work in couples therapy, his two mega-selling books, as well as his hugely popular national workshops and seminars. In Men, Women, and Relationships, he ably demonstrates that only through respecting, appreciating, and responding to our natural differences can we achieve real happiness and fulfillment in our relationships.
Discover the simple, practical techniques that can enable all of us to experience the healthy, supportive love we deserve.
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John Gray, Ph.D., an internationally recognized expert in the fields of communication and relationships, and the author of twelve bestsellers, has been conducting personal-growth seminars for thirty years.He is a Certified Family Therapist (National Academy for Certified Family Therapists), a consulting editor of the Family Journal, a member of the Distinguished Advisory Board of the international Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, and a member of the American Counseling Association.John lives with his wife and three children in Northern California.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The Art of Loving an Alien Being
People Are Different
Recognizing this fundamental truth is essential for creating positive and loving relationships.
In practice, however, we do not fully acknowledge that people differ from us. Instead we are bent upon changing one another. We resent, resist, and reject each other's differences. We demand that the people in our lives feel, think, and behave as we would. And when they react differently we make them wrong or invalidate them; we try to fix them when they really need understanding and nurturing; we try to improve them when instead they need acceptance, appreciation, and trust.
We complain that if only they would change, we could love them; if only they would agree, we could love them; if only they would feel the way we do, we could love them; if only they would do what we ask, we could love them.
What, then, is love? Is love accepting and appreciating a person only when they fulfill our expectations? Is love the act of changing a person into what we want rather than what they choose to be? Is love caring for or trusting a person because they think and feel the way we do?
Certainly this is not love. It may feel like love to the giver but not to the receiver. Real love is unconditional. It does not demand but affirms and values. Unconditional love is not possible without the recogration and acceptance of our differences. As long as we mistakenly believe that our loved ones would be better off thinking, feeling, and behaving the way we do, true love is obstructed. Once we realize that not only are people different but they are supposed to be that way, the obstacles to real love begin to fall away.
How We Are Different
Once we accept that people are different we can begin to seriously explore how we are different. Ultimately all human beings are unique and it is impossible to categorize them. But by creating a greater awareness of our possible differences, these systems are immensely helpful.
The study of morphology divides people into three body types that are associated with three major psychological differences: action oriented, feeling oriented, and mind oriented.
Hypocrites, Adickes, Kretschmer, Spranger, Adler, and Jung classified our differences by four temperaments, generalized by some as "physical, feeling, thinking, and intuitive." The widely used MyersBriggs indicator expands these four into sixteen.
The ancient practice of astrology describes twelve psychological types. Sufi teachings recognize nine basic psychological types called the enneagram. Many contemporary personal growth and business seminars describe the following four types: supporter, promoter, controller, and analyzer. It is proposed that the individual potentially possesses all of these qualities, and with a greater awareness he or she can choose to develop and integrate them.
Some, however, oppose categorizing people since this may limit them or box them in. To say one person is analytical while another is emotional may give rise to judgment. This fear arises because experience tells us that when we are being judged as "less than another," it is because we are being categorized in some way; we are being seen as different. Hence, we fear being different.
From one perspective, judgments and prejudice are associated with differences. But at a deeper level we can clearly see that the original cause of these judgments is nonacceptance and nonappreciation of our differences.
For example, a person might be judged as "too emotional" by an "analytical person" with the mistaken expectation that all people should be like him. This belief makes him incapable of truly appreciating or respecting an emotional person. In a similar way, an "emotional" person might judge an analytical person as "too analytical," because the emotional person is not appreciating their differences.
Though the acknowledgment of differences can be perceived as a threat, it is not. Through accepting that people are different we are freed from the compulsion to change them. When we are not preoccupied with changing others, we are free to appreciate their unique values. Ultimately, the recognition of differences among people allows us to release our judgments.
Unity in Diversity
Accepting our psychological differences frees us to experience an underlying oneness that permeates our relationships. In an abstract way, we are all the same. In every spiritual teaching is an acknowledgment of that oneness. Deep within we feel a spiritual oneness with our fellow humans. When we read of children suffering from hunger, we feel in our hearts the pain we would feel if they were our own children.
Ultimately we are all motivated to break free from the chains that separate us and to realize our oneness. This opening of the heart is really an awareness that what is outside us is also inside us. The quest to open the heart takes a variety of forms: the path to enlightenment, the quest for God, the dream of happy marriage, finding one's soul mate, or creating a loving family. In each example, one is inexplicably drawn to something and someone else.
The seeker of enlightenment is drawn to a teacher because the teacher embodies something within the student that the seeker is to realize. Through loving and understanding the teacher or the teaching, the seeker is indirectly loving and accepting those very qualities within himself. Gradually the seeker finds what he seeks within his own being. In this way we are inevitably drawn to that which we need to awaken within ourselves.
A man separated from his female qualities becomes detached and cold. He seeks relief through union with a woman's softness and warmth. Their innate differences create an attraction or chemistry. As he blends his male energies with her female energies, he momentarily experiences the bliss of his own wholeness. Through touching the softness of her femininity with love, he becomes soft and gentle, yet maintains his masculine strength and drive.
We may seek to find yet a deeper union with our soul mate, a special person with whom to share our lives, as if ordained by the heavens...
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Canad, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0006385559
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Canad, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110006385559