Written by Brit Sharon. Connect with her on Tw.
I can confidently state this fact even thought my entire adolescence would argue.
Understanding the difference between “What actually happened” and “What I made it mean” came up during a conversation about recently signing up to ride in the AIDS/LIFECYCLE, a bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that raises money for AIDS prevention, education and medicine, which quickly turned into me ragging on my dad about how he doesn’t support me participating in the ride and frankly in anything I do.
Midsentence my friend interrupted me and asked,
“Now what actually happened?”
I looked at him and said,
“I just told you, I told dad I signed up and he said it was a stupid idea.”
My friend was grinning for some reason,
“I heard you say that, but what did your dad actually say, like the words?”
I looked at my friend in confusion, I explained to him that my dad had told me it sounds like a hard ride and that he wouldn’t spend $800 on a bike, which I did.
“It sounds like your dad was just concerned for you,”
my friend said.
Have you ever had a moment where you were about to say something with all the evidence in your head ready to back in up and suddenly something is said and all thought besides that last statement has left you?
It was weird. I couldn’t explain why what he had said stopped me in my tracks.
I went home that night and continued to ponder the idea of the interpretation I had put on many other times my dad and I disagreed.
The first thought that pops into my mind is when I was 19 and I wanted to move out of the house. I was egger to have the same college experience I had seen in hundreds of movies and as well as those I constantly saw my friends having on Facebook. My dad and I fought for months about this topic. I ended up moving out on bad terms later that year.
Looking back at that period of my life I started to focus on the specific arguments we would have and what I came to realize was that
“What I made it mean”
was that my dad didn’t love me, he doesn’t care about me, he doesn’t listen to me, and he’ll never be able to understand me.
As I thought of these moments between my dad and I, I took my friends advice. I tried looking at it from a different perspective. I reexamined those arguments and observed them from the point of view of
“What actually happened”.
When looking back at all the times I wanted to move out, I started to notice that my dad was speaking from a place of love not hate. All he wants is for me to be happy, we know this about most of our parents but we sometimes don’t see it.
I thought I knew everything about the world at 19 and had I just listened to my dad instead of jumping to the conclusion that if he doesn’t agree with me he doesn’t support me, we could have had an entirely different relationship.
As I kept exploring this concept of “What actually happened” I started to apply it to when I was younger and the themes were consistent. My dad has supported me my entire life and sadly I chose to forget and not see what was right in front of my eyes.
I speak to him everyday. I enjoy my time with him and most importantly I know he loves me and I can actually see it. By seeing his love I can finally acknowledge it and him. It has made a profound difference in my life as well as my family.
I also apply this idea to all aspects of my life. When I find myself in an augment with someone, I take a step back and really look at what actually happened. It has made me a better communicator and overall person.
Take care, love,
Brit is a published journalist and author of the children’s book The Little Girl That Did. She currently works in social media and public relations.
Check out her blog by clicking her picture.
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