If you ever watch football on TV, you’ve seen the cases where a controversial play happens, and the coach on one of the teams throws a little red flag on the field because he believes the officials made the wrong call. The flag alerts the officials that he wants the play to be reviewed by the use of instant replay. The referee then goes to a special monitor and reviews the play in question from a number of different angles. Sometimes one angle tells one story, but another angle proves it to be wrong.
Don’t you sometimes wish that this technology could be used in every day life?
Have you ever found yourself around someone who has a revisionist memory of events in their lives? You know what I mean. They have a way of recalling their actions, and those of others entirely different than what actually transpired. If only you could throw your little red flag so a guy in a black and white striped shirt could come and check out the replays of the incident, and then return with his impartial findings.
It is so frustrating when you have people in your life who are revisionists. I’m not so sure they truly believe things happened the way they describe them, or if they’re just spinning the truth knowing their version of events cannot be disproved. It’s difficult when you know things didn’t go down the way they are being represented. You may even have proof in the form of witnesses, text messages, voicemails, etc. But even with proof, there is no reasoning with the revisionist because they refuse to accept responsibility, or the ability to utter the words, “I was wrong”.
This particular lesson is tough for me to conquer because it’s against my nature to let someone get away with revising the truth. There are times you just have to let the other person go with their interpretation of events, and times when you have to stand up and not allow them to stubbornly twist things.
There is no formula to decide when to do one or the other. I think you have to review several different factors. What is the nature of your relationship? Is this someone you have to deal with indefinitely (ie. family member, co-worker)? What is the significance of the circumstance(s) in question? Is this person revising the truth as it relates to the character of another person?
For now, there is no way to have a personal referee to come out, review what happened, then utter the words, “upon further review…” and either confirm, or reverse the perception of the revisionist. And even if there were, unlike football, people have a choice to accept or reject the facts.
Revisionists can be stubborn. Letting go of their position is like letting go of their power. In reality, being open to truth is far more liberating than holding on to a falsehood, but it’s hard to convince them of that.
For all of us, we must be humble enough to accept a different perspective. Even if you don’t see things the same way, respect can be maintained by understanding that other people have different angles that affect their view of things.
Sometimes there are things that are more important than being right.