Welcome to mediation… and to life! My horoscope reads like a “best practices” maxim for mediators, and for the rest of us as well.
When someone tells me about a situation or another person’s behavior or actions, my mediator mindset automatically responds: “Hmm. I wonder if there is another side to this story.” Or, “What would the other person say about that?” It’s undeniable: there are ALMOST ALWAYS two sides (or more!) to every story.
When mediating a case, or talking about an incident or another person, it’s commonplace to “cherry-pick” the facts or slant our version to gain our listener’s sympathy, if not agreement. It’s likely that the other party is doing the same thing. In fact, both parties may think they’re telling the truth. Can there be more than one truth?
Before venturing into that thicket, imagine what would happen if we were embedded with an “anti-taffy/truth-seeking” microchip. This device would trigger us to ask whether there’s another account of what we’re hearing. “Is my friend leaving something out?” What if we withheld judgment on what someone is telling us until we heard the other side’s version? How would that impact our assessment of what we’re hearing?
Equipping our bodies with an “anti-taffy/truth-seeking” microchip is pure science fiction. At least, for now. But what if we behaved as if we were equipped with one? If every time we heard someone complain about a situation or another individual, our “I-wonder-what-the-other-guy-would-say- about-this” response mechanism clicked in?
It may minimize our penchant for gossip, idle chatter, and (need I say?) downright fabrication. It may even make us pause and think when we’re the one complaining.
And take the stretch out of taffy!
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