Occasionally, the Universe likes to remind you of the obvious. If you’re not paying attention, these revelations can be ignored for decades… but occasionally, the stars align, and you are able to understand the fundamental truths of existence. This morning was one of those moments for me, but because the story that prompted it is not mine to tell but somebody else’s, I won’t go into details. I can, however, summarise the basic gist.
There will be points in other people’s lives where how you react matters far more to someone else than it does to you. It might be as simple as encouragement where none appears to be needed, or understanding of an issue that is trivial to you but means the World to the person you are communicating with. In those moments, don’t listen to yourself as the arbiter of truth. Just because something works for you, does not mean it is applicable to everybody else.
Sometimes, this is not about keeping you happy.
There’s been a lot of stress about Dentistry this week, wrapped around an experience had as a child after an adverse reaction to gas and air after tooth extractions. An eleventh-hour about-face over the wisdom of pulling certain teeth from my daughter’s mouth resulted in a long conversation yesterday with our dentist, the result of which is a complete rethink of what was planned. In the end, when I accepted without argument the wisdom of what I was being told by an expert, her surprise was both vociferous and gratefully received. There’s a sense that not many people accept what my dentist says as truth. I wonder if she was male if that would be different.
In the end, gender or authority shouldn’t sway people as to how they react to particular situations, but they inevitably do. What ought to matter more is empathy and experience. Looking past what we see someone as being, to what they really are, is tough. As I’m easily swayed by certain combinations of visual stimulus, so are others. This is not what should dictate our experiences. It’s the same mentality that told me to ‘toughen up’ as a child, that still gets thrown at me now for not being hard enough sometimes. I realised this morning that sometimes, that’s the last thing I ought to be doing.
The only way to truly learn about yourself is to accept that sometimes, you are wrong. Today, I was and after taking the time to listen, I hope that maybe it will make a real difference to two lives going forward. This acceptance can often make it difficult to understand when you’re right, but yesterday’s events prove to me that my gut is becoming increasingly adept at understanding truth and acting upon it.
Nobody said living your life would be easy or fair, you know.