What I am about to write here, people more or less already know on some level. I hope however I am able to illustrate something important that I think most of us forget when we go about our lives and specifically something important about relationships and what happens when we have difference of opinions or are in conflict.
For the sake of the argue let us say that every relationship is made up by two individuals, no more no less. Being individuals means that they have different sets of beliefs which I guess is fair to say, is a result of their up different journey through life.
One can say that they in fact live in separate realities. For instance in one persons reality being in the rain feels bad and in another persons reality being in the rain feels lovely. The individuals experience of “being rained at” is totally different and it does not have anything to do with the reality of rain. The raining represents a different reality. A reality that doesn’t contain the properties of feeling good or bad. The feeling good / bad is completely our doing. The rain just is what it is and probably don’t mind what people think it feels like. We DO this with almost everything we experience every day, every hour, every minute of our life…How we interpret and add properties to the reality around us is what we humans are really good at, we outplay any other species on this planet so pat yourself on the shoulder for being awesome in creating realities. Our enormous ability to create our own realities is amazing but it could also get us into lots of trouble if we don’t understand that this is what we do.
You are not living in the real world, you are living in your own intepretation of it. This is a simple fact and it won’t stop being a fact whether you acknowledge it or not. Much like you can’t go unaffected by gravity through life by ignoring it.
What has all of this got to do with relationships? Well, it seems to me like it has got a lot to do with them. Because when two individuals meet there are in fact two separate worlds that meet. All this is well as long as the sun shines but when we engage in a discussion or an argument, which is a discussion with the presence of “being right” or “proving the other wrong” we all get a little bent out of shape.
As shown in the illustration, when we engage in being right we probably throw away relationship building qualities like really listen, ask questions, to smile, keep our calm and having an open mind just to name a few. In these moments we loose track of something important. First we forget what we are engaging in; that there are in fact two completely different realities that meet and the second is that we loose track of the illusion of right and wrong which I illustrated in the example with the rain. Arguing over if rain feels good or bad is probably silly but still we engage in proving, convincing. And when it comes to other areas we tend to dive in with more ease. And we often forget that the same rule applies. Our reality is our reality. And of course you are correct. In your reality EVERYTHING you think seems right and correct to you. That is one of the fundemental benefits with living in your reality. This is captured in the saying “It really does not matter what you think, you are always right”.
We are just humans bumping our realities against each other. But the real question remains – what are we trying to be right about? The fact of the matter is that no one really knows the reality of the real world. We can at best get a sense but this is where we humans meet our limits. Maybe the real world is the world as it is BEFORE we add properties to it with our thinking. We really don’t know, and thinking about it just makes it worse. Having no idea about the real world and being compelled proving your version of it is probably a waste of time in many ways. For one reason, no one can ever prove that your interpretation of the world as wrong. Simply because to be able to distinguish right from wrong we need to establish the correct interpretation which we can use as a contrast.
The fact of the matter is that no matter what we do actually matters. What we do is our choice and we all know that we are where we are because of the choices we have made. And it is my belief that if we practice more listening and less describing our reality expands.