“When we accept that there is not just one story about any place, we gain a kind of paradise.” – Chimamanda Adichie
One thing that always confused me as a child, was how people can get angry with each other, cutting ties because of something that happened.
Not only that, because I thought it was possible that very bad people existed and that, therefore, a good person could hate them. No. What impressed me was the fact that other people that I knew were good, taking the side of the bad one. More confusing still: how people of the same family have the same opinion with each other about who was right, and defended each other!
Why wouldn’t a brother of a contestant of land, recognize that the other side was right? What invisible link between the people who made them agree on a given subject that has nothing to do with or emotional family ties?
For a while I thought that people from the same family defended themselves simply because they liked each other and that, therefore, even agreeing with the enemy, defended themselves mutually. But I was wrong.
It’s not that, it is a genuine defense of the idea and not just the person. Defence of opinion.
Today I know that the origin of all disputes between people, is an error of perception that is as simple as it is common: a unique history.
When you talk to someone you love, you tell yourself your story of that person. You see their qualities, generosity and love. In your inner dialogue you repeat to yourself this one story. If someone comes to tell you a different story, you can’t believe it’s true and obviously you defend the person you love. Not because you love them, but because they’re under unfair attack, according to the unique story about that person you’ve been telling yourself. But this attack can be justified. That other person has a different story circulating in their brain. This story sees betrayal, dishonesty and greed. It’s just a story, but it’s a powerful story that, each time it’s told, first inside their head, and then in the heads of many others, is gaining real consistency.
But it’s not true. It’s just a unique story. It’s reducing all value, generosity, complexity of a person to a flat story, formed by a handful of opinions about one or two acts that may even have been misunderstood, and probably were, since the interpretation itself is part the story that is told.
Be careful not to fall into a unique history’s spider web. She is always false because she never picks up the full value of the other person. You yourself, can not be reduced to your mistake because you are much greater than that. You can not reduce anyone to their mistakes or their qualities, but you must appreciate and enjoy every person that God has put in your path exactly as they are, with everything.
If you do, you’ll discover a fabulous thing that is revealed only to those who overcomes the stories and connects with the person.