The psychologist Alfred Adler suggested making a distinction between people, who are worth caring for, and unacceptable behavior, which has to be addressed. “I love you but your behavior is unacceptable, and I expect you to change it for the better in the following way.” It helps to be clear. “I’m not looking for an apology. I AM looking for a change in behavior.”
The distinction between human beings who are worth loving, and behavior that must stop, is also present in religious writing. “Hate the sin, but love the sinner,” reads a passage from the New Testament. You’re not your behavior or the words, thoughts and feelings that framed your behavior. You are life. Life unconditionally loves your body, and also powers all your thoughts and emotions. None of these affect life, which always remains whole, pure and light.
Love all members of your groups as they are but address any behaviors that threaten group safety, coherence and ability to thrive. As a member of groups, you can modify some of your behaviors, if it makes sense to you, to align with the group without having to become someone you’re not.
As life, you are and each member is the highest common denominator. Life is the glue that keeps the group harmonious, cohesive and moving forward in the same direction. Life powers all steps of all members toward shared constructive goals. As life, you can play your part to keep members inspired.
Here’s a cautionary consideration. Before you commit time and energy to a group or a relationship, find out how they deal with disagreement. When you say, “No!” you quickly find out how individuals and groups deal with conflict. You also learn how much need for control they have. Don’t join groups that have a low tolerance for differences in opinions and new or out-of-the-box ideas, unless you’re comfortable being controlled.
Skip groups whose members insist on suppressing your spontaneous expressions and who value controlling their members more than their members’ uniqueness. You’ll be amazed how intensely members and some groups will coerce you to adopt a rigid culture and specific ways of speaking and acting. It’s a warning sign. In the world of mastery and masters, truly free speech exists. Each person is on a unique inner journey. Each experiences his or her personal level of knowledge of self and world. Each one shares her or his personal expression of that individual journey of discovery in a unique way. As many different ways to express experiences exist as there are individuals in the group.