Over the past little while I’ve been following the story of two New Yorkers who grew weary of the dating scene. So they decided to date each other for 40 days, attend counselling and figure out why they haven’t been able to find “the one.” Every day, for 40 days, the couple sees each other and then blogs about their day’s experience at 40 Days of Dating. It’s a fascinating project, but the most fascinating part of it is that the two individuals experience the same events, and virtually each time, walk away with a different experience.
Those are the Facts!
If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “And those are the cold, hard facts!” I’d definitely be able to buy a grande extra-hot, no water, chai latte (that doesn’t include variations of that saying either…). When we have a shared experience, we walk away with different experiences of what just happened. Just like our friends, Dave (Vince Vaughan) and Ronnie (Malin Akerman), when Dave has an encounter with a shark in the water, he (probably rightfully so) comes away with the experience that he was the victim of a shark attack, while Ronnie knows that he cut himself climbing onto the boat and wasn’t bitten by sharks. We come into each event, experience, action with a different set of life experiences, education, and heritage, we come at each experience with a different lens.
Tell Your Story
Typically when we’re in conflict it is because we have had different experiences even though we were part of the same event. These stories don’t come out of thin air, they aren’t random, they are how we experience the world. When we have the chance to listen to the other person’s story, we have the ability to find out how they experienced the particular event and have the opportunity to create a shared meaning together.
So the next time you think, “this is what happened, that’s it, that’s all!” don’t forget, that’s only your interpretation of what happened, not necessarily the person sitting beside you.