Let’s do an experiment.
Try to recall the last time you had a disagreement with your significant other. Now, try to remember exactly what happened during the argument. You can ask your partner to recall the same incident and ask him/her to tell you how the conversation / argument went. More often than not, you will find that a mismatch in both of your accounts on the same argument. Some say this is just different interpretation of the same situation. But the question is, why is there such different interpretation. Fact should be fact…right?
You see, when we are new born, the neural pathways of our brains are not fully formed. Some extreme experiments were done to prove this hypothesis. Scientist used newborn kitten and sutured eyelids of one eye for months. The result of it was astonishing! The kitten grew up having only one eye vision while the eye that was covered was not functional. The scientist continued to show that the anatomy of the covered eye was perfectly normal and identical to the eye that was in function. What happened was the neural pathways from brain to the eye was supposed to be established. However, when light was not permissible to the eye, the neural pathways were not linked to that eye. So even if the eye was fully functional there was no neuron to tell the brain what the eye was receiving.
How is this related to you arguing with your partner and having different views on the seemingly facts? When we are born, millions of neural pathways start to develop. Throughout the years, we get hurt, we learn new things and our brain will morph accordingly. This provide us with different ‘lenses’ to view the world. Every experience we have throughout our lives shape who we are. We interpret, and store the memory as a unique memory. We began telling ourselves our inner story that shape our world view. Hence, the way you viewed the argument was different from the way your partner viewed the argument leading to the argument (I presume).
Here is a simple story that sparked my thought on this post. The protagonist of this story had his own view of everyone he knows in the world. Be it someone he knows personally or someone he has read about like Abraham Lincoln. But everyone in the world, in his world to be exact, is created by him. So, the next time you have a disagreement with your partner, your friends, your co-workers, stop and think about how you view this person and is it really the person.
You can also use the inner story to shape your world. After all it is your world and this is a place where you can have full control of. For instance, if you walk into a client meeting and it was an hour meeting filled with verbal and visual cues from your clients. You look at your client’s dress, her eyebrow moved up when you mentioned certain part of your presentation, you also see her necklace or her ear rings etc.You can walk out of the meeting thinking every single negative cue that your clients exhibit or you can think about the positive ones. I personally tend to skewed towards the positive although everyone I know tells me that I’m a pessimist. I didn’t have a particularly good childhood. So, I used inner storytelling to keep myself motivated, to achieve more and have a more comfortable life. I’d like to think that I’m a realist. I don’t paint nice pictures about the world or people. I don’t see the world as a great place. But I also have hope. I have hope that I will make a better life for myself and I did.
I will leave you to ponder about this. If you are interested to know how you can shape your world, check out this article on how to stay sane with inner story telling.