Forget the Facts
Hello and welcome to this glorious Friday, June 25, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
In our endeavor to nurture a healthy and nourishing relationship, DC and I often read and discuss personal development books and watch enlightening documentaries together. Most recently, we listened to a podcast titled, “Fierce Intimacy.”
One point that was made during this hour-long interview with the author, Terry Real, is that facts often get in the way of resolving conflict. While the intended audience was married couples headed towards divorce, I believe this wisdom applies to most all relationships.
The fact is, facts are often not much more than loosely-supported opinions. We each have our facts. If facts were inherently factual, we would all essentially believe the same thing. I’m not suggesting here that we shouldn’t make informed decisions based on the best evidence available, we most certainly should. Where I’m going with this is that “facts” are often divisive and destructive of relationships. Although I’m not trying to make an overarching and all-applying statement, as far as developing healthy relationships is concerned, we may want to forget the facts.
When it comes down to it, I have to believe that we all want to be in healthy and supportive relationships. Deep down, we want to be respectful of one another and treat each other with kindness and compassion. This isn’t to say that we are going to chum around with everyone we meet. Nevertheless, do we like contention? Do we like to argue and fight? Do we aspire to conflict? Though some seem to live in these states of being, I haven’t met anyone yet who legitimately enjoys it. It doesn’t feel good. It’s not healthy. And yet, we continue to argue about who is right, and who is wrong.
Regardless of the nature of the relationship, what do we argue most about? Facts? “I took out the trash last time!” “That’s not how you load a dishwasher!” “You said that I was incompetent” – “I never said that!” “You spend too much money!” “The Broncos are the best football team ever!” “Everyone should drive a Prius!” “That’s not how you operate a forklift!” “You were late for work yesterday, you’re always late for work!” “We need to spend more time together!” While there may be a nugget of truth in whatever it is that you find yourself arguing about, regardless of who it is that you’re in conflict with, how important is that you’re right? Is it worth fighting about?
Let’s say that your boyfriend of 5 years continues to buy whole milk. You like 2%. Even though you’ve told him a hundred times, he continues to buy it. You snap. You call him out on it. The arguing starts. In this moment, what happened to all the reasons that attracted you to him? Is whole milk what he has been reduced to? Is he uncaring because he buys the wrong milk? What about everything else that he does to support and nourish you? During your milk argument, what would happen if you got a call from the hospital and were told that your sister was involved in an accident? How important is the fact that you like 2% milk in that moment?
Regardless of how petty or important it is, we want to be right. Unfortunately, in our desire to be right, we sacrifice relationships. We will never convince people that they ought to think like we do, like what we do, and believe what we do. And yet we try. We tend to act as if a healthy relationship is based on being in consistent and mutual agreement.
Imagine what it would be like to simply support one another, regardless of what you believe to be true.
In my family we have different religious/spiritual beliefs. We also think differently about politics, climate change, and COVID-19. We can spend our time futilely debating who is right and who is wrong, or we can love and support each other. The fact is, unless they want to believe something different, I will never convince my dear sisters that my worldview is true and accurate (my worldview is not true or accurate – it is simply my worldview). My sisters are important to me. I know that debating our “facts” will separate us. Today, I seldom need to debate who is right. Despite the fact that we think about things differently, I can still love and support them. I can honor their paths and be grateful that, just like me, they are doing their best in their search for a meaningful and fulfilling life.
The truth is, I still have my factual opinions about this and that. When I make them known and present them to others, they create divisiveness, conflict, and more often than not, an opportunity to apologize later for my righteous behavior.
Thanks to a comprehensive Mindfulness practice, I’m learning identify and let go of these destructive “facts” and the need to be right. What is important to me meow is to treat people with love, kindness, compassion, and understanding. My strong beliefs towards industrialized food, who makes the best soy latte, or which is better, dogs or cats, don’t need get in the way of me listening to you with care and concern, as if you are a dear friend. Because you are.
Regardless of what your facts are, you are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
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