As we roll up on Thanksgiving, more and more thought turns to gratitude. How to teach it, how to live it. Something I said recently was that I'm learning to appreciate my father because. Not despite our clashes, not instead of being any other way, but just because. My father and I are very much the same person. He'll tell you that's bullshit. I'd have said the same until about three years ago. But, we're very much the same person. Interests, drives, passions, no. Not at all. I enjoy spending evenings watching Doctor Who. My father prefers sports games. I enjoy computers and computing, my father would love to throw his computer out the window. But, at our cores, we're the same. Impatient, demanding, temperamental, stubborn, headstrong, uncompromising, driven, focused, blunt, honest, deeply loyal, intense... the list goes on. This often causes more issue than it solves.
But you see, as I get older, I'm learning. I've found how to dull the edges a little when I need to - though I'm still not good at it - and I'm learning to appreciate the qualities that used to make me insane. It applies universally, though. Learning to appreciate everyone around me for who they are, just because they are, is turning out to be not only practical, but also very calming. Maybe "centering" is the right word? It gives me a bit of space, allowing me to really pay attention to who is around me, and sort out where everyone is coming from, and take their wisdom and apply it to my own circumstance - without the inherent frustration of clashing personalities, ideologies, or methodologies.
Accepting people, and appreciating them as they are, is fairly new to me. I generally trend toward taking people at face value, without the moment to step back and appreciate. This means that I'm usually left dumbfounded, staring at people (or screens), wondering what the blazes is going on. This is a challenge, where I need to remember to do this, to take that moment of focus, to step back. It's teaching me a little patience as well. Patience, not my strong suit at all, makes this skill one that is both very necessary, and very difficult. It truly is, however, worth the effort.