Just as your stories about yourself are partial and particular to you, so are your stories about others. What you say about them is just one out of a million different ways of saying it.
So here’s a genuinely liberating and illuminating practice, when you’re sure you’ve been wronged, unloved, badly treated, ignored, slighted, misunderstood, or deliberately hurt.
Write out your story from end to end three ways:
- from your own perspective (your usual, familiar telling)
- from the perspective of the other (as genuinely as you can)
- as if by a neutral observer who can see the whole situation but has no particular interest in any person or outcome
If you want to go further, you could write out your story as if from:
- an alien who understands nothing about human life
- a four year old you know
- the wisest person you can imagine – whichever historical or fictional person you care to choose
And if you really want to open your mind and your heart to a different way of seeing:
- go and ask the person you are sure has wronged you to tell the story as they see it, listening as quietly and as presently and as openly as you can.
You may just find your story isn’t nearly as certain as it seemed.