One of the ‘Dots’ in relationships is communication. This Dot impacts the quality of our friendships, workplace and lives, BIG TIME- the way we speak and listen to each other is that important. But what about the times when there are different memories? The shared events or experiences that we recall one way but others disagree, adamantly disagree. Then it’s crazy making time.
Have you gotten into a he said, she said conversation recently? It’s so frustrating for both parties, as there seems to be two speakers and NO listeners. Even if you use a timer and set it equal turns (5 minutes can be quite a challenge when you disagree strongly on a topic), you most likely won’t get through that time without wanting to interrupt and set the story ‘straight’, ie give your perspective. You can start off listening with an open mind, but then slip into sharpening your rebuttal instead of giving full attention to the other person.
After my Monty Roberts blog last week, I was searching the web for more info on his amazing “Flag is Up Ranch” near Solvang, California. He is still in the saddle age 70 years + and teaching others through certification programs and classes, and offering Horse Sense and Healing to veterans, a program that can help with PTSD symptoms through connecting and caring for horses. Good stuff! But alas, the search also turned up a puzzling piece, a different point of view. Monty has family members who remember the past differently and wrote a book about it, and have all kinds of good things to say about his parents and home life that would contradict some of his main stories… who is right? Can they both be?
Part of my internship for my Marriage & Family Therapy degree was spent co – counseling with a wise, personable pastor who was well respected for his own marriage as well as his advice. One of his favorite word pictures when the therapy session got bogged down into he said, she said was the Dollar Bill routine. He would take out a dollar and hold it up between them, and then ask each to describe what they saw… it was an effective way to remind them, they are both right, and they have a right to their own perspective.
Maybe the second part of the great commandment, to love others as yourself is asking us to care about the other’s perspective as much as we care about our own. Then when we are famous and wealthy, our family members might feel listened to and know that even if we have a very different perspective, both of our experiences/memories are important.