My sister and I got into a knock-down, drag-out fight over the weekend. One of those ruin-your-day, blood-boiling, want-to-throw-something emotional outbursts. (We missed the opportunity to fight daily as teenagers, so we occasionally try to make up for lost time.)
We were both upset because the other sister should’ve been doing something differently, and we were frustrated that the other sister couldn’t see why they were wrong.
When we talked, though, what we realized was that we were both right. I was entirely justified in my frustration with her, and she was absolutely justified in her frustration with me. Considering the stories that we had spun concerning what the other person was doing, and why they were doing it, we were right to be frustrated with the other one.
We were also both “wrong.”
Once I heard her perspective, I understood why she was frustrated with me, and vice versa.
We each explained why the story that the other person had told themselves — the story that justified the high-horses we were sitting on — was not accurate.
Given her reality of the situation, the story that I had invented about her was wrong — and so was the tale she created about me.
It was a circumstance where I didn’t have to be wrong for her to be right.
We understood. Neither one of us apologized in the traditional sense of “I was wrong, you were right.” (A small victory since I usually apologize as a knee-jerk reaction to almost anything.)
My sister and I agreed to trust that we’d try to remember that the other must have their reasons for whatever it is she is doing.
That’s a tough one. Everyone wants to be “right.”
But, we don’t have to decide who is right or wrong (perhaps it’s better if we do not).
There isn’t always only one right or one wrong answer.
There’s a point of view and an understanding, and we can both be wrong and right at the same time—especially when dealing with those closest to us.
It reminded me of something I read recently:
“We all experience life differently, and there are multiple theories on what’s best, what’s moral, what’s right and what’s wrong. Our opinions and beliefs tend to change depending on our time, place, and circumstance, so it’s important to remember that other people’s perspective on reality is as valid as our own.
[T]he opposite of what you know is also true.
No matter how certain we are about our version of the truth, we must humbly accept the possibility that someone who believes the exact opposite could also be right (according to their time, place, and circumstance). This is the key to forgiveness, patience, and understanding.
Having said that, tolerance does NOT mean accepting what is harmful. Oftentimes the lesson we are to learn is when to say “no,” the right time to walk away, and when to remove ourselves from the very cause of anguish.”
— Timothy Hawkeye (author of Buddhist Bootcamp)
Even in scenarios where we are “right,” we should acknowledge that there may be more than one right.
There are disagreements where there isn’t anything to resolve. There’s little that you could, or would, have done differently. The best you can do is decide that everybody was right, everybody was wrong, let go of the disagreement and move forward.
Let go of the story you told yourself about why someone did something (or didn’t) because that story wasn’t true (and so what if it was).
Holding on to the story is what is damaging. Healing comes from releasing the story and the judgment. The lesson for me to learn wasn’t within the fight itself; it was that sometimes you can understand the other person’s perspective and say… okay.
Wishing you a few moments of clarity amidst the chaos,
Have you ever been in this scenario? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email. Please share this post via social media using the buttons below!