Men & Women From Different Planets?

Not long ago they had us believing that men and women came from different planets. That an understanding of their different planetary languages would help us figure out our problems with love. I assure you, men and women come from the same planet.

In fact that’s where the great hope comes from that men and women will be able to find things in common and communicate. The problem is, people commonly overlook underlying similarities when there are more obvious differences.

It’s the similarities between us that have more to do with love. We can start with, we are all human. For most people, contemplating the fact that we are all members of the human race, brings up a feeling of commonality. It may be fleeting to be sure but the hope is in the fact that it shows up.

This little fleeting feeling of similarity or commonality is the origin of our inborn capacity to love one another. In the case of men and women, similarity is complicated by the obvious physical differences between most men and women. Just like in other cases of obvious difference (age, race, etc), stereotyped thinking takes the place of getting to know individuals who are different than you are.

False assumptions are common when stereotyped thinking takes over simply because very little information is being gathered and used to create the assumptions. Beliefs like, ‘all men’ are this and do this or that, or ‘all women’ are this and do this or that, are common examples of limited stereotyped thinking.

When stereotyped thinking takes over it tends to block out and discourage any effort to recognize similarities that exist. Again it’s the similarities that encourage the experience of love. A good example of forced similarity is, at times of human disaster or calamity, the common goal of survival is compelling to all people involved.

Under these conditions people help each other and seek support and acceptance from each other with little or no difficulty. When the calamity passes and order is restored, many people revert back to the ways they experienced each other prior to the calamity.

However, some people do not or more precisely, cannot. They are forever changed by the event. As if they have seen the underlying nature and value of human life, present in each of us regardless of our differences.

Living through a calamity with other people different from ourselves can be a life changing event. Our greatest hope is the realization that we are all living on the same planet. We all wish to live and love.

This human foundation is present in each and every one of us. From this foundation emerges our capacity to love, to realize and value the similarities in all of us. The early writers on love who theorized planetary differences between men and women in order to counsel and guide us on love, were only making things more complicated by introducing errors into the beliefs men and women have about each other.

The love that is possible between people that look and act different can only emerge when the similarities can be directly experienced. Can we do this without calamity? Can we do this willfully because we know how important love is in this world?

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan


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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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