Many of you may have heard me shriek "we're the SAAAAME" when a tiny commonality arises. (we're both the middle child? we're both reading the same book? we both love the same singer? Then..."we're the SAME!") The expression began as a joke between me and my friend Bri during law school. As our friendship began to bud, we began to realize that despite our physical, familial, religious, and political differences, we both loved baths, long walks, our feelings, calamari, and red wine. "Ohmygoodness, we're the SAAAAME!" Bri shrieked, elongating her vowels to add 4 more syllables to the word and throwing her dainty upward-facing palms on her hips. And such was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Soon we were sharing the expression left and right, without discern and without regard of our audience. Most people didn't get the saying (which obviously made perfect sense), but we kept saying it regardless, and it became deeply entrenched into my daily language. My family was NOT amused. "Um...I hate it when you say that because we're NOT the same" my sister responded one day. "But we kinda are." I smirked." No, we're not." "Maybe a LITTLE bit?" "No." My brother didn't get the expression either, rolling his eyes every time I shrieked it in his ear. Even my mom gave me the "look" when I said it (although she was forever won over when I wrote her a poem for Mother's Day called "Why We're the SAME.") My dad was the only one who didn't seem to mind, in large part because he always agreed, that, indeed, we were the same (sucker).
Soon enough, the saying flowed so freely from my lips that I began to lose control of its usage. On the third day of my clerkship, I wore a red shirt, as did my co-clerk. "Look at you matching," my Judge joked. "It's because we're the SAAME!" I shrieked, throwing my upward palms on my hips. Silence. Really awkward silence. "I mean...not really..it's this saying that...well, nevermind, anyways, back to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure..."
Despite my excessive and inappropriate timing of the phrase, perhaps the irony behind it all is . . . we really are all the same. Deep down, fundamentally the same. And this sameness arises from our one true basic desire: to be loved. At the end of the day, that's really all any one of us wants. The only thing that differs is how that desire manifests.
The Enneagram, an ancient personality test, believes that there are only 9 personality types in this world (ranging from 1-9), and the differences of personality depend on how each number manifests this desire to be loved. 1's seek love through perfection; 2's seek love by providing for others; 3's seek love through achievement; 4's seek love through expression; 5's seek love through their intellectual capabilities; 6's seek love through loyalty; 7's seek love by being fun; 8's seek love by being in control; and 9's seek love by maintaining the peace. (My number is a 9, which brings up all sorts of interesting issues which I'll psychoanalyze in another blog entry, but if you're interested in finding out your "number" you can go to www.enneagraminstitute.com.)
So even though I may be one number and you may be another, and our personalities may drive each other crazy, there is freedom in realizing that our differences actually stem from our same deepest desire for approval and love. We're both just acting in the most best way we know how to achieve it. And this realization can break through the barriers of personality and behavior, allowing us to connect--vulnerable heart to vulnerable heart.
And so, if fundamentally our hearts beat to this same beat for love, maybe I won't be retiring the phrase, if, indeed, we really are the SAME.