Seeing both sides now.

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My Grandmother had a saying “It doesn’t matter how thinly you slice the bread, there are always two sides”. When I was younger it used to drive me mad as usually she would say it to me when I was repeating some bit of gossip or information I had heard at school or at the local shops. To me everything was very black and white .It was either right or it was wrong and I believed tales that people recounted without question. I didn’t tell lies so why should other people? As I grew older I began to realise the wisdom in her words. It really wasn’t about telling lies, at least not always. Seldom people deliberately set out to lie to you when they recount what has happened to them and apportion blame to whomever or whatever they believe caused it to happen. It is just how they actually see it. They will tell you a story based on their values and beliefs and how it appeared to them but if you were to take a survey of other people who may have been present at the incident, you would get varying accounts of what each had or had not seen and all would believe they were telling the truth. The police find this all the time when they take witness statements. There could have been a robbery and a whole lot of people may have witnessed it, yet it they had not had a chance to talk to each other, each person present could give similar yet different accounts. These can be differences in the size of the person, their clothing and even colouring and accent. If however the witnesses have chatted to each other before giving their statements to the police then they will start to follow and actually believe what the person or people in the group with the most conviction remembers. This is why it is important for police to try to speak to people before they have had the chance to speak with each other. They do not deliberately change their statements it is just in fact human nature to be easily led to do so by someone else’s strong conviction of the truth, even if this is actually a misplaced conviction.

If this is a problem with a lot of witnesses imagine how hard it is when you are hearing one person’s account of a situation against another person’s account? Who is telling you the truth? Mostly you will find that in many situations, unless it is a crime where one person commits a definitely criminal act against another, the truth is somewhere in the middle of both sides. Rather than cause further pain to both injured parties it is often wiser to just be a good listener and not to take sides. Taking sides usually just results in more fighting and more upset for all involved. If you can be supportive, without judgement it will help others to heal quicker. Yes their ex may have been horrible but constantly agreeing what a bad person they were and what a fool they made of them is not going to help them move on healthier and happier. It just increases their feelings of unhappiness and spirals people further down in to a bigger darker hole, making it harder to climb out. Equally telling them not to be daft and that you can’t believe it of the other person will also have the same effect of increasing feelings of hurt and isolation. So whilst you may have an opinion it is far kinder not to actually express it other than to agree it is time to move on as clearly whatever the reason it was unhealthy for them to stay in that particular relationship.

So how does this affect us as individuals? Well when we feel that we have been hurt or treated unfairly by a partner, ex-spouse, family member, friend, colleague, the list can go on, it is important for us to realise that this is just how we feel and that the person that hurt us might truly believe that they are in the right. No amount or arguing or debating will change that and it will not help us to hold on to the hurt. That is not to say that we allow it to continue and take no action. It is just that trying to get the blame to lie with another is a waste of time. It will not in the long term ease the pain, in fact it actually makes it worse as it can be unfair to both parties .A lot of precious time and energy can be spent trying to get someone to recognise how they have wronged or hurt us and it achieves nothing as they may well still believe they are in the right. It is far better to look at how you allowed it to happen in the first place. To recognise what it is that you need to learn positively from the experience that will enable you to move on with life stronger and happier? Take back control of your life by taking back your personal responsibility.

None of us can actually control the actions of another person, not even of those that we love. All we can ever hope to do is to be able to control our own reactions and to make sure that we learn from our past mistakes. By accepting this we take back our own personal power and reduce the ability of others to cause us lingering pain. We learn to thrive rather than just survive and surely that is the best motivation of all to start today, to let go of past perceived hurt, pain or regret and move forward building as we go a happier, healthier more fulfilling life.

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