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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %HELPFUL RECOGNIZE NAME DESCRIBE TALK UNHEALTHY+960206 %DISTINGUISH FRIEND ENEMY MEMBER RESPECT ACCEPT+960206 %MEMBER REJECT INSIDER OUTSIDER TEAM COMPETITOR+960206 %RESPECT SUSPECT DIFFERENT TRUST RISK LOVE SIN 960206 It is often helpful to recognize, name, describe & talk about both the healthy & the unhealthy ways in which people distinguish between friends & enemies, members & non-members, respectable & non-respectable, accepted & rejected, insiders & outsiders, team-members & competitors, truth-worthy & suspected, etc. Often the basis for making distinctions has to do with how alike or different the "others" are. Usually, but not always, we trust others who are like us. However, if we are not honest & trustworthy it is more complicated. Then we know we cannot trust others who are like us in being dishonest---but still find it difficult to trust others who are not like us because they are honest and trustworthy. If we are not honest and trustworthy we are trapped in a double bind in distinguishing between friends and enemies---because our paradigm makes it nearly impossible to do so in any reliable way. Healthy people develop ways to focus their attention within fellowships, groups, clubs, organizations and institutions wherein they have honesty in common---and so can understand and cooperate with each other effectively. They communicate through the use of commonly understood languages, signs, signals, body language, looks, gestures, and ways of being who they are in each other's presence. Healthy people cooperate and work together in terms of what they share in common and feel comfortable in sharing. They comfort each other in times of distress and enjoy each other's presence in times of relaxed mutual vulnerability. They share many common bonds because they recognize and respect many common boundaries in a very relaxed way. Healthy people are relaxed in how they relate to each other and to "outsiders". They are not constantly on the defensive towards each other or towards "outsiders". Their lives are not dominated by insecurity and fear. They know what they share in common. What they share in common bond is not any of the following: 1. Fear of some enemy, 2. Fear of non-conformists, 3. Fear of the truth, 4. Preoccupations with boundaries, 5. Preoccupations with controls, 6. Addictions to fixes, 7. Lacks and imperfections, 8. Patterns of exclusivity, 9. Manipulative technologies, 10. Anger, resentment, indignation, or bitterness. If we are not wise and prudent we are likely to let whatever is the basis for our being together in a community that is sharing common bonds---to become the basis for excluding others from our community and so to be the basis for creating enemies upon whom to focus our fears. Then our common bonds become the bars of a prison which is surrounded by our enemies---and from which we cannot escape because we have defined all outsiders to be enemies. We need to find common bonds of honest fellowship which lead us to be inclusive, rather than exclusive; to create friends, rather than enemies. If the basis for our being together generates conflicts with those who are not with us; rather than facilitates conflict resolution with all people whom we meet---then we can never be secure, and we must always be defensive in ways which publicly declare our insecurity and our fears. We need to gather together on the basis of ideals, values, principles, beliefs, paradigms and cosmic views of the nature of reality---which facilitates conflict resolution with all people whom we meet. It is dangerous to gather together within mutually exclusive fellowships based upon fears and distrust towards those within "other" strange fellowships. We need to gather together in ways which promote dialogue and mutual understanding with those who are not in our own fellowship. If we do not do so---we gather together in ways which promote alienation from, and mis- understanding towards, and conflicts with those who are not in our fellowship. If we are compulsively preoccupied with what makes us different from those who are not with us---we are bound to fear those who are not with us; to fear them and be defensive towards them. We need, therefore to be careful to gather together in terms of integrative ideals, values, and principles which will help us to integrate into our fellowship "outsiders"; those whom we might otherwise be inclined to exclude so as to better define who belongs inside. Exclusivity is a dangerous basis for defining a fellowship; for it inevitably leads to conflict generation and maintenance, rather than to conflict resolution and transcendence. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================