Yesterday I was having a conversation with my Mom and she was sharing with me a situation that was unfolding between her and her Sister. My Mom and her sister have not seen each other face to face in about 44 years and their relationship has been rocky for as long as I can remember. My Mom's sister lives in Holland and my Mom lives here in BC. I won't share with you the actual story, however I will say that as my Mom shared her version of the story, my intuition peaked and I knew that something wasn't adding up. My Mom was quite angry about an email that her sister wrote. I asked my Mom to forward the email which was written in Dutch, so that I could translate it on Google and read it for myself. When I finished reading, I had a completely different perspective of the situation that I shared with my Mom.
My Mom could not immediately understand what I was saying as she was painting a completely different picture based on her version of the story which includes 44 years of emotion. The end result was that my Mom was able to see what I meant and see the story from her Sisters perspective and begin to heal the current situation. My Mom called me today and thanked me and said, "You were right". Although it is great to hear my Mom say that, the overall story brought me great sadness, for my Mom and her Sister. It made me wonder, how many other
misunderstandings have they had that could have been easily resolved? I have seen my share of conflict and I have played a role in resolving much conflict in the workplace. This situation really touched me on a deeper level and made me wonder, how many other people find themselves in this type of situation.
If you think of an iceberg, 80% is under the surface and 20% is above the surface. In regards to conflict in relationships we are usually only focusing on the surface, the truth exists under the surface. When emotion is involved, we look at the situation with judgement, we make assumptions and we filter our experience through our beliefs and past experience. This can make it extremely difficult for the truth to surface.
The story above is probably the same as many others, we share our version of events with friends and family and they listen and support us in anyway they can. Yet the truth never comes to the surface because we are the storytellers of our reality. In this particular situation, I was able to be neutral enough that I could help my Mom to break through her reality and uncover the truth, which is not easy to do for family. Normally, I would not have asked to read the email, this time I did, which had a tremendous impact.
When I review my own experiences there are two ways in which I have been able to bring truth to the surface. First, there were times when a friend would be brutally honest and would challenge my thoughts and allow me the space to see the truth for myself. The second was that I was able to reflect on and challenge my reality and begin to see the situation from the other persons perspective. Prior to this, I would live in the illusion that I created until it was time for the story to change. There are three sides to every situation; your story, their story and the truth and when the truth emerges it has the power to dissolve emotion.