Sameness and Differentness

“We meet on the basis of our sameness; we grow on the basis of our differentness.”

(Tyospaye, 1985, Black Hills, S.D., Tape 4.)   Satir, revised by Carlock, 2006.

What unites people all over the world is our core sameness. Let me make this clear to those of you who are reading this. We are all the same in many ways. We have red blood cells, our heads are on top and our feet are at the bottom, and so on. Sameness forms the structure of a relationship; sameness is the foundation, the glue which unites us with one another. From this foundation we can move and grow. But sameness is not enough.

Differentness makes the fabric of our uniqueness. There are no duplicates of our palm prints anywhere in this world. We are each one of a kind. Coming in touch with our differentness is the road to change, greater loving, and more excitement. Relationships need sameness, but they also need differentness. We need diferentness in order to sense our boundaries and feel our identity. What fun would we be if we were clones of each other? But in some places the presence of differentness is experienced as a threat to sameness. When we can only honor sameness we destroy the very essence of ourselves.

Each of us has traveled a different road from the time that we were born. And, genetically, we have different colors of eyes, and hair, and so on. No human being duplicates another one. Each of us sitting across from the other might discover before us, if we really look, the like of which there is nowhere else in the world. We have things we share in common but basically we are all unique beings. What a discovery process relationships can be.

Categories such as gay, African American, fundamentalist, elderly, or physically challenged are really meaningless.  Categories may have their place in talking generalities, but the only place that we can really connect is with the human in front of us. Labels, categories, and generalities obscure our being able to see each other.


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