Looking at the world around us, we see diversity. Others are different. They have ideas about life we hadn’t imagined, their background and experiences astonish us, and their conclusions might be thrilling, uninteresting, or strange to us.
In a team, it brings the situation that they have a different approach to their work than we do, and they may want a very different help from us, than the one we’d like to give.
Difference needs to be learned. Welcoming it too.
That is also true when the difference means that opinions are opposed or outside of the scope of what we believe to be tolerable.
That is where things often become confusing. Welcoming the difference doesn’t mean welcoming the other person’s opinion or behavior. How people deal with the difference depends on the existing relationship and what those engaged are involved in it for. It is up to them to decide how their difference can be integrated into the relationship or how it can’t.
Welcoming the difference is there to engage in the fact that it exists. It generates a struggle. The struggle leads to a reflection on one’s behavior, beliefs, or values. Whenever they are contested by the difference, they invite people to find ways to confirm or change their position.
The presence of crime, violence, or hardship reminds us that we have to care about what we do and how we relate with others.
The presence of other ideas, opinions, and emotions reminds us that we have to work hard to make our ideas clear to ourselves and others. Especially if we want them to be able to follow us.
However, the use of the struggle can get lost on us, if we only want the other to change and become like us. We’ve pushed the struggle away and made the other responsible for making it disappear.