Accepting Differences

Love is acceptance. I can tell you that when I am recognized for who I am, I feel loved. When I feel listened to, understood, I feel loved and it feels so cuddly, and gentle on the skin – like the sun in the sky!

In graduate school and post-doctoral ‘training’ to be a psychologist, I studied diagnoses so that people in ‘outpatient psychotherapy’[op] could be ‘labeled’ as having a disorder. I don’t use this term [op] much. (See my very first blog, “On Becoming A Coach – A Change in Perspective Through Comedy and Playfulness” January 8, 2013.) A great deal of emphasis in identifying disorders is built into this labeling process: finding weaknesses rather than strengths. Reams of paper (books) have been devoted to ‘disorders.’

After years of clinical practice, which coincided with growth -emotionally, personally and spiritually, I realized that we are all (you, me and everybody like us), working on the same thing; that if I removed the labels – a myopic view of us – my goal for my clients (and myself) would be self-love.

After all, this is my goal for myself. We are all on the same continuum for most characteristics. Remember studying the bell curve in statistics? Most traits (e.g., height, weight, etc.) from samples of the population fall within the middle, (the curved part of the bell). The numerical data for many attributes accumulate within the largest part of this curve, describing 80% or so of our qualities. We are similar.

Yet, each of us is unique. Possessing over 50+ trillion cells, a unique vibe (remember that our chakras ring with sounds from A to G on the musical scale) [See blogs “Good Vibrations” May 20, 2013 and “Compassion As Music Of The Soul” May 27, 2013], each of us ‘rings’ differently. Paradoxically, we are both similar and unique.

I’ve been noticing that acceptance of differences is growing. In “Kinky Boots,” the runaway, Broadway hit, Billy Porter (a man of color) in the lead role of Lola, a male who dresses as a woman, lights up the stage with beauty and talent in stunning clothes, wigs and costumes. This forward-going play deals with the issue of what it means to be a man. And, this is performed/dramatized/sung in a most beautiful way. Once again, Cyndi Lauper, who wrote the music and lyrics, demonstrates her genius. (The book is by Harvey Fierstein; the movie, from Miramax, was written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth.)

The dialog is nuanced and touching; the choreography…spectacular. It’s a visual delight.

The talented Halle Berry (CBS’ “Extant”) portrays a scientist, a wife and mother who has two sons she loves very much: one, Ethan, is an ‘android’ (fancy name for a robot) who is blossoming, both emotionally and technically, past his programmed abilities; the other boy (called ‘offspring’), was created in her womb, and is half ‘alien’ of a kind. He is creating destruction. These two boys touch my heart, along with many viewers, I suspect.

The point I wish to make is that Billy Porter’s character, Lola, and Berry’s two sons inspire love and concern even though they are different. I feel connected to them.

It’s interesting that Broadway AND television (CBS and other networks with other, similar shows) are exploring the concept of difference—as our millennial, X and Y generations are creating change and diversity; and interfacing with the shifting economy (small groups of people operating in evolving, self-employing entities, sometimes called ‘boutiques’). The interlacing pieces of attitudes, the arts, the economy, etc. are fitting together…and we are changing the world. Where are we going? I would say… toward increased personal responsibility, which is a necessary ingredient for love and compassion.

I include two videos, which open my heart (big time) as I listen. Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” lyrics, Ewan MacColl, Flack on piano, John Pizzarelli, guitar; Ron Carter, bass and Ray Lucas, drums. “First Take” album, Atlantic Records, © Figs D Music, Storm King; (1972) and Elton John’s “Your Song” lyrics, Bernie Taupin, drums, Barry Morgan, bass guitar, Dave Richmond, acoustic guitar, Frank Clark, guitar, Colin Green, 12-string guitar, Clive Hicks; Uni-DJM Label (1970). These two songs are listed as number 1 and 2 in the “100 Best Love Songs Of All Time” by Billy Lamb, Top 40 Pop Expert, 2014; Wikipedia, 2014.

Let me share this development: I work to truly love myself. I am, then, really able to love that special someone. This ability to love and be loved is available – in less intense form, with others, as well. As I love and accept myself, I feel more connected to others, in part, because I do not have to create defensive barriers between the ‘other’ and myself, or between the part of me I like vs. don’t like. My personality is more integrated. I sort of lighten up. My energy-vibe shifts to a more encompassing level and tone. I see myself in the metaphorical mirror (See my blog “The World Is A Magical Place – Merlin” July 29, 2013) more completely: more of my energy is available to be used to co-create, to laugh, to include (vs. exclude), and to create abundance, because I am not using my energy to cover up what I consider to be my warts and pimples, so to speak! My chakras spin more freely and I have fewer obstructions… I love myself, and therefore, I can love others…and feel included as part of the totality and the oneness of All That Is…Each of us is someone’s daughter, son. Many of us have a sister or brother…this is the global community of brother-and sister hood.

Important is the ability to embrace the unusual in others; the different beliefs, the various customs, idiosyncrasies; to both like and dislike whom they are YET to hold a picture of this static/tapestry (balancing this), while caring for them. In this way we see the whole of who they are. Note that this is the same process we undergo in learning to love ourselves! Quoting Elton John and Ewan MacColl, “It’s a little bit funny this feeling inside…” (“Your Song”) I add to this: is the feeling we are soon able to have with that special someone and others…

From my heart to yours…

Speak to you on October 13th.


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Linda Marsanico

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