The Story We Write in Our Heads
Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone, and you spend a ton of time going back and forth because they won’t (or don’t) see things your way? If so, you wouldn’t be the first person or the last. Oftentimes I’ve found myself needing to get the last word in. I could say it’s because I’m stubborn. Others might say it’s because I think I’m always right. Either way, whenever we have a disagreement with someone, it can usually be boiled down to one thing – different perspectives.
Wars have been started, relationships ended, and lives disrupted because of something as subjective as our perspectives (which aren’t always rooted in tangible facts). I’ve been in the middle of quite a few knock-down-drag-out incidents and when I take a step back, they’ve all been ignited by someone feeling wronged. What if instead of declaring who’s right and who’s wrong we started to say, “The story I’m writing in my head is…”, and go from there? Now I can’t take credit for this wonderful phrase – our therapist gave it to us – but it has completely changed our communication pattern. The Hubs and I are two very stubborn people and we both are sure we’re always right. But what we’ve realized is that while the story as we see it may be true, it may not be. And the moment we reframe it like that, it makes it easier for us to accept that the other person doesn’t see it our way.
Now – let me be completely transparent. This. Is. Hard. I’ve tried this before, and it’s backfired. I’m talking “duck-and-cover because you think it’s a shot gun blast” backfired. And while I wanted to go left I took a step back and decided to go right. Why? Because you can’t change someone’s perspective if they’ve made up their mind to only see it their way. It’s their story and nothing you can say or do will change that. As a justice seeker this is difficult for me because that person’s actions or words were hurtful or mean and no amount of their perspective could change that. So what do you do – bow out gracefully? Maybe. Are you going to carry it with you for a few days? Probably. Are you going to secretly wish that person would trip over a rock? Definitely. Ultimately though, you have to decide when to close the chapter on the story and move on to the next one.
Until next time…