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The Things We Make Up

posted 2014-09-18 by Herb

I was wandering in a mall yesterday. I was by myself so I was silent, and that gave me the opportunity to hear what was going on around me. Snippets of conversations as I walked.

With few exceptions, the conversations were about relationships. Accounts of interactions between people. Person A telling person B about something that happened with person C.

This in itself did not strike me as unusual. Our relationships in all areas - work, friendships, family - are critically important to our experience of life. It makes sense that we spend a great deal of time thinking or talking about them. What did strike me was the degree to which we make things up. The discussions were about different human interactions, someone recounting a story about who said what to who, or who did what to who. And, about what they must have meant when they said it or did it. We assign meaning to everything in our lives. Then we spend a great deal of time thinking about what we've made up. Not just thinking about it but believing it, and then we make decisions based on it.

What would it be like if the next time someone does or says something to you that you have a reaction to, you stopped for a moment, and took a breath. Then, before you make up what you think they meant, you just checked in with them. Maybe said...'I am assuming that you meant this when you said that. Did I get that right, or did you mean something different?'

What would that be like?