We all love fairy tales. It is black and white: the bad character whose evil nature is apparent from the start is defeated and the good character gets a deserved happy-ever-after. It is easy to choose sides, to prove that one was right and the other wrong. But the world is not like that! It is not as black and white as we would all like it to be. There are no good guys; there are not bad guys either. Not really. Perspective is everything, and whether someone is good or bad is relative to you and your values.
Most people out there actually are not as heartless, wicked or devious as you believe, neither are they crazy, psychotic or demented as you eventually paint them. Sometimes they are just afraid, and as you know, fear will make you do loads of incredibly stupid things.
As much as it is hard to be willing to see things from the perspective of the other, to try and understand why it is that they do these things, there are always two sides to every story. Actually, way more: your side of the story with the information you have, their side of the story with the information they have, and the side of the story that has all the information (which may include accounts from myriad others or even statutory evidence)
Of course, there some standard rights and wrongs. Don’t get it wrong…I’m not talking about things like child abuse, rape, murder or lying to protect oneself. But, when you are talking to your mother and she’s telling you about your father cheating on her; you’re talking to your wife and she’s telling you about her asshole boss is at work; or you yourself are disappointed and engorged with loathing for another person who you are convinced is the root of all your problems…there’s another side to the story.
A woman cheating on her husband is completely wrong, but what if her husband had cheated first and the wife, furious and in pain, opts for the irrational and cheats on him in retaliation? It is a wrong thing for her to do…but you cannot deny there is a reason for it. We are humans, sometimes it is just too difficult to do the right thing, despite how much you want to.
I recently got entangled in a dramatic episode of a friend who cheated on his wife, with his wife’s colleague (who I also know) and the wife is threatening divorce, even though she cheated on him first with her ex, who had since become a ‘family friend’.
According to the wife, she stepped out on the husband because he no longer regarded her emotions, never listened to her and was too domineering. The husband, on the other hand, said he was emotionally detached, as she worked too much and barely spoke to him, and him cheating with the colleague was to make a statement. The ex in question is saying he was not thinking straight, he is going through a trial separation with the wife and is having a hard time. The colleague…well, I don’t know her story but it exists. Quite a messy situation.
A few years ago it would have been super easy for me to point out who the real villain was: perhaps the wife for cheating and pushing a devoted husband into the arms of another woman, or maybe the evil ex for putting asunder, what God had joined together. But, being privy to the so many sides to the story – my friend’s story, his wife’s story, the ex’s story, the ex’s wife’s story, I realize that you cannot really pin down any one person as the root of the problem or as being the supreme villain in the case. Clearly, nothing is as simple as he said/she said or he did/she did.
Basically, there is so much more to this life than the sides we choose to take or standby. We all have our own perspective based on different information, and our own unique ways of processing that information through reason, emotion, and beliefs, so we need to learn to cut people some slack. We need to learn to imagine what the other person’s story is…what could have instigated their action. Given, in some cases, one side will greatly outshine the other and sway the final judgment as an alternative conclusion becomes seemingly impossible, but in all, in almost every single incident or situation involving two or more parties, you cannot really say it was one person’s fault. Do you agree?