Building community encompasses everything from choosing a life partner, to starting a cooperative venture, to forming an ecovillage. We bring other people into our lives with the assumption we'll be sharing some kind of space and making decisions together. Novelty is bathed in fresh energy and optimism, resulting in feelings of falling in love.

But the honeymoon eventually comes to an end, leaving real people to challenge each other's nerves. Unless we have tools in place to maximize equity and shed light on what's going on, the exit door looks all too enticing. But then that comes with it's own set of consequences.

It would first help us all to remember that not everyone is like ourselves. Temperament Theory has been developed over centuries, suggesting that evolutionarily speaking, we all have specific gifts (as well as specific needs) we bring to the table. Without shame or judgment, we can speak to those needs using techniques found in Compassionate Communication. Of course, it would help to discern whether our voice is indeed coming from our more essential self or from our ego self. The Enneagram of Personality Types can help illuminate the difference between the two.

While these tools are especially useful before we settle from the heady states of newfound love and come to our senses and unconsciously get caught up in inevitable interpersonal conflicts, they are nonetheless helpful at any time we wish to examine how fundamental traits, language, and motivations play out in relationships.

For organizations operating on democratic principles, relationships are more likely to remain equitable when the underlying governance structure encourages more than just the casting of votes. Sociocracy recognizes the value of individual input and employs structures and processes for all voices to be heard and used together to consent to "good enough for now" solutions. As most human solutions have "externalities", or consequences for more than just what meets the eye, Ecological Literacy is imperative for predicting how natural systems might be impacted. For addressing those times when one or more of us miss the mark, Restorative Justice provides an alternative to more punitive and alienating forms of justice.