We tend to separate ourselves from things we don’t like, disagree with, or just don’t understand. And many times this is useful as it helps us to clarify who we are and name the things important to us. But sometimes we go to the extremes and end up disowning important parts of who we are.
For example, if we thought our dad was overbearing and demanding growing up, we might want nothing to do with this style of relating as an adult ourselves.
And in order not to become our dad, we become his opposite – now passive and constantly yielding, rather than being aggressive and demanding.
Initially, we assumed if dad’s way is bad then the opposite must be good. But soon we realize our life is not really better. We have similar problems just packaged in a different way.
And part of our problem is that we disowned the parts of us that we disliked in our dad. And we threw the baby out with the bathwater.
Beneath the sinful and selfish ways he expressed himself was likely still something good – perhaps the ability to speak up for himself and fight for what matters.
When we dismiss him as all bad then we miss the good qualities that come with his style of relating as well.
And when we simply embrace his opposite then we don’t have the checks and balances needed in our life to thrive either.
There’s a time to decisively move things forward and a time to graciously yield. And there’s no wisdom in embracing one side of this coin to the rejection of the other. We need both.
And, of course, this applies throughout our life and relationships.
To be sure, there’s a high cost for blindly rejecting those things simply opposite of our natural tendencies, wherever they’re found.
Many times this opposite is a needed counterbalance that keeps us from getting lost in the extremes of life.
In the end, resist the urge to simply reject those things you don’t like. There’s often needed checks and balances found in what we consider our opposite.
Photo by Miroslav Kuruc on Unsplash