Jennifer Safian. Divorce and Family Mediator

People usually relate a story or an incident from their own perspective, and sometimes that same story can sound quite different depending on who the storyteller is. Here is a little anecdote that might amuse you:
I was standing on a crowded bus one day. A woman was sitting in front of me talking, or rather yelling, on her cell phone. Two other women standing next to me and holding on to the straps, were having a conversation.
“Excuse me,” exclaimed the woman on the phone, “can you please stop talking, I am on the phone!!!”
You should have seen the faces of everyone around her, stunned, staring at her in disbelief and looking at each other:
“Does she realize what she is saying?”
An elderly gentleman sitting across the aisle shook his head and said:
“The world is upside down!”
Everyone in the vicinity was staring at this woman as if she had lost her mind – – after all, we were on a public bus, so how could she have an expectation of silence? She was trying to conduct a conversation and from her perspective, the two women talking in front of her were making that difficult. Clearly she thought she was in the right.
No matter what the circumstances are in our lives, we really should not make assumptions. In my daily work with families in distress, I find that people frequently have very different perspectives of the same story, causing them to argue and disagree on decisions to be made. My job as a mediator is to help the parties also see through the other person’s lenses and gain some understanding in order for them to find common ground.
As in the example above, from some people’s perspectives and looking through their own colored lenses, the world does sometimes feel upside down.
Life experience has certainly taught me to be more understanding of other people’s views, even if I feel that my view is the right one. The need to pause and put oneself in their shoes may take effort, but who knows, it may create an “aha” moment and reveal an approach you had not been aware of.
Try it, even if you don’t like it!
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Jennifer Safian. Divorce and Family Mediator
Divorce and Family mediation
Upper East Side of Manhattan (NYC)
New York, NY
(212) 472-8626

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