Several years ago, I was driving with a company that purchased pick-up trucks from southern Alberta and delivered them to a dealership in Montana. The long hours on the road allowed me lots of time to listen to audio books. I listened to many books, but one phrase in one book that stood out for me was “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” It was found in the ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Steven R Covey. I was deeply immersed in the Mormon religion back then. Mr Covey might well cringe to see that I have traded my priestly duties, black suit and tie for a silk scarf, leggings and mascara; I am okay with that.

Yet, that quote stuck with me, and that life skill has proven to be useful and truly very effective throughout my life journey. Previously, I had to fight to be right. I was always one who needed to get my point across. I had to make others see things the way I saw them. I would talk and talk and talk trying to get them to hear me and make them understand, but for the most part, it just resulted in arguments, shouting, and at times even became physical. I was so angry then.

As I began to practice this life skill of seeking first to understand, I noticed the shouting and anger began to subside for me. By seeking to understand another’s position, all I was doing was allowing them to share their opinion. They would tell me all the reasons why they believed I was wrong, sick and bad for wanting to dress as I did. Then, at the end of simply listening quietly, I would say “That’s interesting, and I disagree, but thank you for saying”. I would smile and participate in the drama no longer. I needed to do nothing with their opinion.

I recall having a conversation with a Bishop in my home as he explained his point of view based on his beliefs about who and how I was. He went to great lengths to show me how I needed to change to fit into his idea of how I ‘should be’ for a while, then, I smiled and quietly said “I understand your position sir and I will not change who I am to please others. Your argument is with the One who created me this way, not with me, but I do appreciate the invitation to change; thank you for stopping by”. It wasn’t long after that I was no longer a part of that religion. Now I preach love and acceptance, first for self, then for others.

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I listened long enough to understand his position, that my desire to dress pretty was not in alignment with his world view. Okay. Fair enough; I understand that, but I don’t have to agree with it.

Then, I expressed my position so that I too would be understood; I simply disagree with that opinion and I will not change who I am because I was created in this way and I love how I am created.

We parted ways without so much as a raised voice. He continues to follow his beliefs and I continue to follow mine.

I am married to an amazing cis woman who is a devout Catholic. I am not; yet, we live together in wonderful harmony because we do not need to do anything at all with one another’s beliefs. I don’t try to force her to conform to my way of thinking and she does not try to force me to see it her way.

We live in the same house, share our bed and give one another the room to “Be”, needing to do nothing with it.

Often, the drama in our lives is created by our need to make someone else see it our way. We don’t need to; we can go about our day simply being ourselves, side by side in the world without trying to force anything, yet quietly refusing to conform to their expectations. Gandhi, Mandela and many others have created global change in this way.

I take care of myself and do things like going to a public bathroom with a friend waiting outside the door. I don’t force my way into places where I know I am not welcomed.

By simply going on about my day, dressing as I choose, respectfully like most other girls, I am being no threat to anyone and that is seen each time I go out publicly. This summer, I went shopping at a local grocery store several times in my denim shorts and tank top, cute sandals make up and earrings. I was treated with respect.

This week try hitting the reset button by remembering that we do not need to force anyone to change their opinion, and we do not need to change our opinion either. We all have the right to be treated with respect and dignity because we are here on the planet together. Those who seek to control will fall by the wayside in time. Love always, eventually, rises above and the small minds that refuse to evolve go the way of the dinosaur. This I know for sure.

Thank you for reading beautiful souls and thank you for being exactly who you are!

Namaste ‘n huggles



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Dropping out of high school I began touring in the Canadian country music scene at age 17; clubs and soft seat venues, drummer/vocalist for 22 years. After 4 suicide attempts and heavy cocaine etc addiction issues, i decided to learn Self-Acceptance as apposed to self-hatred. I became a student of the Universe and an Instructor of Life Skills at a local College while operating a Private Coaching Practice. Currently, I am rebuilding the Life Coaching practice after a couple years of more personal work well under way. I am also creating online opportunities that will serve our world community…and our world in understanding how the learned life skills of Intentionally and Consciously Creating an Amazing Life have filled my life with Passion, Purpose and Prosperity and they can for you as well... Namaste'

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Dani Bryn Denali
Dani Bryn Denali
4 years ago

LOVE your writing Sweets! Rings genuine and true! I was out today in my most favorite black, blue and white floral Ralph Lauren dress, black Vanity Fair Lace Nouveau panties, and black tights. I attended a family function this weekend, and didn’t pack well to be Dani…I ached for my accoutrements I had left behind, still trying to hide this from my family. What a glorious 3 hour ride home in my pretty car with my Shar Pei, sun shining, 68 degrees, sun roof open, classical music, feeling like 10 million bucks…even stopped at a drive thru for a roadie… Read more »

Dani Bryn Denali
Dani Bryn Denali
4 years ago
Reply to  Char

Hiya Hon 😉
Your writings are brilliant! I’m just now reading this. I am grateful for you as well Char…I admire your courage that you’ve embraced who you are! I’m glad to be here with you; all of you girls! Thank you so much for your support, understanding, and love! Girl Power!

Peggy Sue Williams
Noble Member
4 years ago

Emotional maturity should always play a major part of every day we live, and I think you have expressed this idea very well, Char. IMHO, being continually confrontational drains positive energy from us. We don’t need to be door mats for the world to step on. OTOH, there are mature ways to express our grievances, if you believed you have been wronged. I was told in Alcoholics Anonymous that it would take many years, if not decades, to achieve any kind of level of emotional maturity. I now believe they were correct! I took my last drink in 1991.

Bettylou Cox
Bettylou Cox
4 years ago

“Be reasonable, do it MY way!” This is the mantra so many of us live by, and I have been among the worst in my younger days. Understanding others’ views is a difficult task at which I’m not very good, but learning to not be confrontational goes a long way toward achieving peace of mind. I do believe that I had to accept this different “me” first before I could accept others, whether I agreed with them or not.

Connie Malone
Active Member
4 years ago

I like to tell people that I have no expectation that they will understand, but I do ask for their understanding, For one who wants an explanation, I say that I am not obligated to explain myself to anyone; I’m an adult, and they are not my parent, anyway. Asking for explanation is really asking for some proof, and accommodating them rarely sounds any better than making excuses to them. The proof, the truth, of whom I am would only be seen by looking at the whole of me, and my gender identity and expression are, though important parts, still… Read more »

Dame Veronica Graunwolf
Active Member

Dame Veronica Graunwolf………a world traveler………where I come from home?????? Here and there and pretty much where my hat is hanging to-day! I have “World Peace”……………”.I AM RIGHT IN ALL MATTERS”………so the rest of the world had darn set in step or suffer a smack on the ear! So says….my MAMMA BEAR!!!!!


Michelle Johnson
4 years ago

Dani, wearing Vanity Fair Lace Nouveau panties in any color always makes for a great day!!

Dani Bryn Denali
Dani Bryn Denali
4 years ago

Honey, it’s God’s proof he loves us and wants us to be happy!

skippy1965 Cynthia
Trusted Member
4 years ago

Char, Great article of course. I think the key is to understand the difference between tolerance and acceptance. One can be cordial civil and polite witt one whose life choices, styles, or beliefs are different with your own by tolerating their behavior and realizing that it doesn’t affect you. I think the problem comes when one party to a disagreement insists that the other party not only tolerates the view opposite their own but must accept that the view opposite their own is the ONLY true answer and if one disagrees then one is considered an evil person who has… Read more »

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