Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nothing is ever what it seems

Why do we so feel our version of the truth is the truth, is what really happened? We have a difference of opinion with a loved one. We discuss it, sometimes, or we just walk away. Sometimes there are arguments. How often have you had a difference of opinion and been able to really convince the other person that your's is closer to truth and reality than theirs? I'm not talking about coersion, compliance, giving in, that sort of thing. I'm talking about the other person actually being convinced.

How often could someone convince you that their version is closer to the truth and reality? You may have said, okay, you're right for the sake of peace, but how often have you been really convinced?

Okay, that sets the scene.Here I am and I damnwell know what happened and the one I'm having the difference with also damnwell knows what happened and the stories don't match. Both can't be right because the two stories are different and there was only one incident. What if neither story is totally accurate, each contains some of what really happened and some of what did not happen or happened differently? I think sometimes we tend to emphasize what's important and forget what's not important. We both forget different elements of what happened, are affected more by other elements and exagerate the elements that had a greater effect on us. We felt hurt or insulted or offended.

Say now you were not there and one of the people tells you their version of the story. We will be inclined to believe that the story we've been told was what really happened. But this story does not contain the bits the teller forgot and is heavily slanted towards the elements that hurt or offended the teller, maybe even distorted to lend emphasis to the validity of the tellers feelings, that she/he is justified in feeling hurt or angry or offended. Ask yourself the question, how do I contribute to the situation by "siding" with either party, or in any way strengthening the story tellers view that her/his story is the undisputable truth, that there is absolutely no alternative interpretation? Do I alleviate their hurt/bitterness/resentment by affirming that there is no alternative beyond their version?

Let me always remember that I'm not sole custodian of the truth--Neither is any other human being. Let me not judge. If I judge, let me be influenced by the simple, verifiable facts, not by opinions and interpretations--Especially when I was not there when it happened. When the Bulls play Western Province and the final score is 15-7 in favor of the Bulls, Western Province lost--simple verifiable fact. The possibility that they lost because the referee was biased is an opinion. We can discuss the quality of the referee's decisions for weeks and never agree. We may end up angry with one another. Let's respect what others do in the heat of the game and quietly judge them, if we have to, but always remember that we were not in the scrum at the time.

The following story, sent to my anonamously illustrates how the truth can be stated in different ways, still the truth but totally different results. Note particularly the final paragraph:-

" A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: ' I am blind, please help .' There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, 'Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?' The man said, 'I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.' What he had written was: ' Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it. ' Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing?Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective? Moral of the Story: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively. Invite others towards good with wisdom. Live life with no excuse and love with no regrets. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear."

" Great men say, 'Life has to be an incessant process of repair and reconstruction, of discarding evil and developing goodness…. In the journey of life, if you want to travel without fear, you must have the ticket of a good conscience.' The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling… And even more beautiful is, knowing that you are the reason behind it!!!"

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