Imagine you’re at a party. You’ve had a few drinks, you’re not as bad as you were at last years New Year’s Eve party, but you’re not sober. Suddenly an idea hits you. “I should put this lampshade on my head and dance around. That’ll be funny!” And so you do. You dance around for a few seconds before realizing, “This isn’t really the best idea”, removing the shade and continuing the party. Seeing your attempt, another person does the same thing. Puts the lampshade on their head. Dances around. And bumps into a young couple. The annoyed couple vents to their friends with annoyance and leaves in a huff 5 mins later. The rest of the night goes normally, as far as parties go.
Two weeks later you’re sitting around with some friends talking about that party. One friend says, “Remember when you put that lampshade on your head and ran into those people?! *Haha!* They were pretty mad.”
Wait. You think, that wasn’t me. So you try and correct them.
“No, it was totally you. I was sober that night. I saw it from the other room.”
Couldn’t have been, you think to yourself. You remember watching the other person crashing into the young couple and being grateful that it wasn’t you. So you try and correct them again, a little firmer this time.
“No. I’m pretty sure you were just too drunk to remember.”
Reflect for a moment and ask yourself. How would this make you feel?
I recently listened a Hidden Brain podcast episode “Made of Honor”. Where they explore the concept of an honor culture and how it affects our processing of social situations.
Quick jist, an honor culture is the idea that our honor, and in effect our word, is of the utmost importance to our social-and individual identity. Countries, states, or even townships and personal-cliques have varying degrees on how deeply they hold to this idea of honor culture and the importance of it.
In the party discussion moment, one’s honor became challenged. You stand by your word that you didn’t crash into the young couple, yet the word of another provides circumstantial evidence you did.
I spent my 20 mins reflecting on this moment as something similar happened to me. I came to a conclusion (albeit after the damage was done). It isn’t worth it to become frustrated when challenged on a memory.
Here’s the deal. If you are dubbed as someone who mis-remembers when drinking, there isn’t really as much social stigma as being remembered as the person that argues when evidence implies they’re wrong.
Not arguing for your honor makes you a “silly fool” in this case, whereas arguing for your honor makes you and “angry fool”.
Now I hear you saying, “but it is my HONOR! My WORD at stake here”. And yes. That’s true. I felt it too and it caused me to push back. But I think what you, and I, are falling into is an example of actor/observer bias, maybe some confirmation bias, and a hint of availability heuristics. We are itching to hold on to our own personal perspective, and personal interpretation of a situation, even if evidence of the contrary is available.
And yes, Facts are Facts. If you did not IN FACT run into that couple, shouldn't that stand for something. And yes. You're right. It should.
But given the grand consequences of the situation, misremembering or being 'that person' at the party. It's really not worth it to get worked up.
Overall, the sentiment I want to explore is the idea of accepting wrongness/challenge and not letting your reaction to the challenge strain the relationship even more than it would have been.
I promise you, practicing this secondary appraisal (these evaluations of the usefulness/need of one's emotions) will lead to stronger self awareness. This self-awareness is important, as understanding YOU is the biggest piece in understanding the world around you. After-all, you're perspective is how you view the world.
So reflect, ask why, and try to work towards self-acceptance. In time you'll find your balance of control and chaos...
| Photo Boy Scout by Norman Rockwell |