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My blog expresses my views and thoughts and in no way intends to offend however that does not guarantee it wont.

I write in a stream of consciousness and sometimes the odd typo or bad grammar may appear - please excuse these.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Reality - It Is Not All Black and White

I find it interesting how so many people, including quite a few of my family, see things in black and white (most of the time anyway).

But how can reality be black and white when there are so many shades of grey - case in point, a couple of years ago I was in our local Chemist when it was held up and the man was no more than 3 feet from where I was standing. There was another woman and her daughter (not a young child but about mid teens so she was obviously influenced by her concern for her daughter) probably 15 feet away. Now we all saw the same thing - but her description of the man was nothing like the man - she gave a description of a man that left the pharmacy as she was walking in. He did look a little dead beat (sorry if you weren't) which is why I happened to notice him, I think he had just bought a needle kit. Anyway, I couldn't believe that both of us looked at the hold up man and yet she got it so wrong. So her reality was different to mine even though we both experienced the same thing at exactly the same time.

Today I was talking to one of my work colleagues who has just lost her Mum and there has been some family unpleasantness which has to all intents and purposes split the family in two. Now this is a shame, but as we discussed, if we have not lived the other person's life how can we know what their reality is. So if you had a wonderful experience as a child, it doesn't mean all your brothers and sisters did as well. Especially in a large family with a big age difference between the youngest and the oldest child. So rather than splitting the family can one not accept that everyone has their own reality within a family dynamic? Do we not get caught up in our own reality so much that we become blinkered to everyone elses?

My brother and I went through the same experience when our parents separated and divorced. I was happy given my issues with my Dad, my brother was not. Maybe because he just didn't get what was going on in the family or maybe he thought that was normal. Anyway, after he decided to withdraw from the family both my mother and father pumped me for information on why. So I told them what I knew and they were shocked - how could that be, how could he think that and so on and so on. Now we all lived through the same situation - he for 9 years, me for 11 and my parents for 13. Then there were the years that followed their divorce and I suppose only my brother and I lived through that similar experience together, but even then it was a different reality for both of us.

He blames my Mum for leaving my Dad because life would have been better if she hadn't. I on the other hand think my Mum would probably have killed my Dad and then our life would have been very different. Maybe that is a little dramatic as my Mum is not a violent woman, but the night she walked out she later told me she had thoughts of hitting my Dad with the iron (she was ironing at the time) and so she turned off the iron, picked up her bag and walked out into the night. Probably a good choice. What my brother fails to understand is that had my Mum stayed there was no guarantee how life would be. We ended up with the most wonderful step-dad and my brother's life is really very good - maybe he just needs someone to blame, or maybe he is still that little hurt boy - only he knows.

What I have tried to explain to my parents is that everyone's reality is different, there is no black and white, there is only shades of grey - and every shade is influenced by things that have come before it and even by things that happen after it. After all memory is a funny thing.

What I see as one of the best qualities I possess is the ability to put myself in the other person's shoes - if it is something you find hard to do I suggest you try it some time - suddenly you see that there are two sides to every story - that the other person is most probably influenced by many things that you have no idea about - or possibly could ever grasp because your situation is so much different to theirs, you don't know what their reality is or why it is that way.

Just imagine if everyone only saw things in black and white how many more wars and disharmony there would be - because everyone's black and white is different to someone elses - because really it is all just shades of grey.

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