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Lickin’ the Lack of Love

Lickin’ the Lack of Love

The Roches, a super-talented trio of sisters who can harmonize with the best of ‘em, have a song that always stuck in my craw. It’s called Want Not Want Not.

It’s an upbeat, almost proud bit of lyrical perspective on eliminating desire.

You can take my picture I don’t care
You can have my attitude I don’t care
The limousine I never ride in I don’t care
Go ahead fix my wagon I don’t care

Want not want not want not

I wish there was a true love
I wish there was a great art
I wish there always was enough
But I’d not want if I were smart

Want not want not want not

We’ve heard this before, right? Desire causes suffering

Nonetheless, we want away. We want so bad it hurts.

Some glorify their goals as if they’ll bring instant, never-ending bliss.

Man rides ass with fireworks

Others get obsessive and make their desire a full-time job.

But that can get in the way of appreciating what’s right in front of you.

Bunny sees self in latte

If we don’t get the thing we want, we feel like dirt. We failed. Life sucks.

Or we get what we want, and it turns out to be something other than what we expected.

Panda says What

So it seems logical that, if we simply stop wanting, we stop feeling bad

Ummm, yeah.

Let’s be real. How many of us would just turn off wanting? Really. How many of us can?!

You know, if your life is nothing but meditating in a cave, maybe you can get to the point where you have no desires. But it’s just not the case for anyone I know.

We’re human! We want our lives to be better, richer. To experience more love and peace and fun.

girl with toy microphone

We naturally have desires. When we were fish, we desired food, so we sprouted feet to walk on land. Now we desire fish for dinner, so we sprout keys to the car to take us to the market.

The wanting of something, no matter how trivial or grandiose, is part of the human experience. But here’s the thing.

With desire comes the acknowledgement of what we lack

It has to, doesn’t it? The moment I say I want a new Tesla, I’m identifying the lack of a Tesla in my garage.

(In my case, it also indicates the lack of a garage. Grrrr.)

Tiny trailer

That was always my beef with the law of attraction. It’s one thing to focus on what you want, which is certainly helpful for its attainment. But it’s another – an impossibility – to ignore the lack of that thing. It’s implicit.

This is both a relief, and cause for concern, for anyone seeking love

As shared by Brain Pickings, psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, in his book Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life,  tells us that the partner of our dreams isn’t, exactly, separate from us.

“We fall in love not just with a person wholly external to us, but with a fantasy of how that person can fill what is missing from our interior lives.”

I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine a significant other fulfilling the desire to have a significant other. But this is about how your loved one actually quells a frustration inside us.

“All love stories are frustration stories… To fall in love is to be reminded of a frustration that you didn’t know you had (of one’s formative frustrations, and of one’s attempted self-cures for them); you wanted someone, you felt deprived of something, and then it seems to be there. And what is renewed in that experience is an intensity of frustration, and an intensity of satisfaction. It is as if, oddly, you were waiting for someone but you didn’t know who they were until they arrived. Whether or not you were aware that there was something missing in your life, you will be when you meet the person you want.”

Whoda thunk? We’re so used to the idea that the world exists outside of us, our dream mate must exist outside of us, too.

But maybe it all begins with what’s inside of us, what our psychic persona is made of. Maybe we create our loved ones.

“… the person you fall in love with really is the man or woman of your dreams; that you have dreamed them up before you met them; not out of nothing — nothing comes of nothing — but out of prior experience, both real and wished for.”

It’s like, who we are dictates who our squeeze will be

Chicks on cat via The Chive

But before we decide to skip Tinder and search within, let’s look at this a little more closely.

It’s weird to think that what is lacking in our lives – and that feeling of accompanying frustration – indicates our future partner. Isn’t the world more arbitrary? Aren’t we bouncing around the world like ping pong balls on lottery night?

And what about love?

How can true love be boiled down to, essentially, an internal itch that gets scratched?

First, let’s admit there’s different kinds of love.

With romantic love, we think of what the other does for us, like “She makes me feel so good.” or “He brings me such joy.”

popeye and olive oyl

But there’s another kind of love. Some call it agape. It’s more of wanting-the-other-person-to-be-happy kind of love. This quote always worked for me.

Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It’s about shared experience. It’s about giving your loved one the space to act individually, and with you, together. It’s less about how the other serves you and more about you serving everyone.

If you love someone set them free

So how can you find your true love, resolving a personal frustration, and avoid self-centered limitations?

I don’t know. But I have some ideas that are worth trying.

1. Turn the desire into an act of generosity.

We can’t stop wanting. And we can’t avoid the implicit lack that comes with it. So just ditch the paradigm altogether. Instead, look for ways to be the type of person you’d like to have in your life. If there is a law of attraction, you’ll be seeing a likeminded soul.

2. Reduce your frustrations.

Seems counter-intuitive. If, indeed, true love is a frustration resolved, are you less likely to find love if you have fewer of them? (Besides, who says reducing frustrations is any easier than desires?)

All I’m saying is, a less frustrated you is a happier you. And a happier you is more likely to meet a special someone. Just live in the flow of life, letting things be as they are without getting hung up on ‘em.

3. Redefine love.

We’re pre-disposed to want the love of another. Hey, it’s biology, after all. But think differently. Can true love come in many forms? Can it be artificial? Will a cuddle party serve your need for gentle touch? Would you facilitate one?

Life is so mysterious, and surprising, and wacky, and fascinating

Throw yourself into it. Desire all you want. Want all you desire. Just allow whatever happens to happen.

You may find yourself swooning.

In love gif

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Photo Credits: The Chive | WENN | DeadMoriesDeadVisions.Tumblr.com | StingVevo

Do You Imbue?

Do You Imbue?

Quick: Which do you value more?

Salmon that was caught in the wild or raised in farms?

(This is not a post about nutrition. Promise.)

Me? I like my orange-colored seafood wild, baby. When I think of farm-raised fish, I imagine crowded pools, dirty water, and less nutritious meat.

This distinction may or may not be true, depending on which culinary expert you ask. But that’s the story I’m buying today.

Look, I couldn’t taste the difference, wild vs. farmed, anyway. And I couldn’t tell by looking at it either.

I just have my story.

End of the day? The true value of the fish is subjective

wolf fish

Where you place value is a result of your experiences and the stories you tell yourself about them.

We know this. When you accept that everyone has their own version of reality, it’s no stretch to understand that what you consider valuable could be different than what I consider valuable.

But humans are social creatures who band together with commonalities as the adhesive. The group determines where value lies.

If all the members of your tribe think elongated necks are drop-dead gorgeous, you probably think so, too.

longneck village

Value can be imbued on something that may intrinsically have none

As long as your peops say it’s so.

Seems easy to understand when you’re looking at what other cultures have defined as valuable.

But let’s look in the mirror and see if we can pull out some hidden truths.

As you probably heard, a Silicon Valley startup named Diamond Foundry, backed by high profile investors like Ev Williams and Leonardo DiCaprio, has created a process for growing diamonds.

In a garage.

diamonds made artificially

Here’s the thing. They look the same. They feel the same. And down to the atom, they are the same.

But are they? Do they have the same value?

As reported in Quartz,

“…if it was identical to a natural diamond down to every last atom … what does it even mean to be the real thing?”

“Was this not as real as a natural diamond, forged in the depths of the earth, spat toward the surface by an ancient volcano? And perhaps even ethically superior?”

Just look at it. They’re really something.

diamond from diamond foundry

But is it a d i a m o n d? I mean, do you think it’s got the same value?

We’re in some questionable territory.

Most of the time, we use abductive reasoning, otherwise known as the duck test.

If it looks like a diamond, swims like a diamond, and quacks like a diamond, then it probably is a diamond.

You know what I mean.

ducks crossing the road

But if you know your rock was generated in a plasma reactor – if you know it’s not a diamond as we’ve come to know it – does it have the same charge? The same zing?

We have, collectively, imbued value on something and it’s become common wisdom

But why?

As the Quartz article points out, DeBeers – maybe the most famous diamond company in the world – has been committed to

“…making consumers believe in its greatest asset, which isn’t actually diamonds, but rather the idea of diamonds.”

“The company explicitly defined the “diamond dream” in a 2014 report: “The allure that diamonds have for consumers, based on their association with romance and a sense of the eternal, and the fact that they are seen as a lasting source of value.”

In fact, 75 years ago, on the heels of the Great Depression, they hired an advertising agency, N.W. Ayer, to make them a cultural touchstone.

“As Edward Jay Epstein chronicled in The Atlantic magazine in 1982, the ad agency focused not simply on sales, but what it called “a problem in mass psychology”—its mission to make the diamond engagement ring “a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services.”

It worked. In just three years, between 1938 and 1941, N.W. Ayer helped increase De Beers’ US diamond sales by 55%. Far more importantly, the agency planted the powerful idea in the American psyche that a diamond was an essential step in romantic courtship—and its size was directly proportional to the love, worth, and prowess of the man who offered it.

Nobody thinks diamonds are glorified gobs of granite. We can agree that diamonds are something to behold.

engagement ring as pan lining

But it took a new story – a new perspective, generated by an ad agency! – to make diamonds the symbol of eternal love they are today.

In other words, we imbued immense value on something based on an idea

And that idea is reinforced every time our newly engaged friends show off their new rock. Because now, with this new collective point-of-view, only a diamond engagement ring could be the real thing. For most people, anyhow.

Consider the different ways we imbue value

Clothes make the man.

That sentiment’s been around since the 1500s. Clearly some believe that fashion sense is valuable.

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him. – Leo Aikman

Some think communicating with respect and generosity is valuable.

And then some people think actions speak louder than words.

Emerson quote

Each perspective is true for the ones that hold it.

We imbue value subjectively and define value collectively

Yes, we each hold certain things dear. Some are more universal – like a kiss from your squeeze or ice cream on a hot day.

Some are more… unique.

many roofs one building

So go ahead. Propose away with that polished pebble ring. I think it’s totally sweet.

But will she like it?

Depends where your honey imbues value.

leaves that look like lips

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Photo credits: Featured via The Chive | DailyNewsBlog | National Geographic via YouTube | Diamond Foundry

Can You Picture Your Reality?

Can You Picture Your Reality?

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Everyone agrees with that, right? A quick look around this blog indicates I sure do. Then again, some Native Americans and indigenous people think pictures steal your soul. We’ll exclude them from the photo-loving train.

For the rest of us, it goes without saying that the best snaps tell a story without one word written.

Horse consoles cow holding beef

But what about the story told to the photographer?

How does that impact the photograph?

This very question was put to six shutterbugs in an experiment that illuminates how we see the world, how we interpret it, and ultimately, how we behave in it.

Created by Canon Australia, the experiment is – at least indirectly – meant to sell cameras. Let’s forgive that aspect in favor of the giant dose of perspective-altering it provides.

The set-up is simple. Six photographers are asked to shoot a man’s portrait and “flesh out the essence of who he is”.

But here’s the twist. Each of them are told a different story about the man. Unknown to the others, he is presented as:

  • A millionaire
  • A recovering alcoholic
  • A psychic
  • A fisherman
  • An ex-prison inmate
  • A life saver

Can you guess what happened?

Surprise, surprise. Six very different portraits.

Each photographer captured his “essence” based on the story they were told

They all saw him differently based on that story. Then they retold that story through their photo.

Even though it was a total lie.

The story influenced the perspective, which influenced the result

Check it out.

The stories we believe form the spine of our reality

Have you ever heard of Significant Objects? This is another story-related experiment that reaches similar conclusions.

A group of writers were tasked with selling random, garage-sale items – each worth less than $2.00 –  on Ebay. Instead of posting them with just the description, dimensions, size, etc., they crafted stories about these items. Compelling, detailed, narratives.

Some wrote about how the item hearkened back to a vanished era. Or the item’s magical powers. How it was used in ritual. How it served as a guardian spirit or played a role in a historical event.

The stories were not presented as factual. Writers took care to avoid the impression that the story is a true one, with bylines and the like. So no wool was pulled over anyone’s eyes.

Want to guess what happened?

Surprise, surprise! $128.74 worth of worthless junk was sold for $3612.51! Storytelling’s where it’s at, baby.

What does this tell us about stories, our beliefs, and how we use them?

The quote at the end of the video is particularly illustrative.

“A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what is in front of it.”

Can’t argue with that. But it could just as easily have read:

Reality is shaped more by the person behind the eyes than by what is in front of them.

This is what it’s all about, friends. There is no ONE reality. There are zillions of realities. One for each sentient being. (And who knows how many others?)

There is only your reality. It’s the only one that exists. For you. And it’s built on the stories you’ve told yourself.

Penguin, on a newly discovered capsized wreck

Wheee! <reaction>

These girders are slippery. <story>

Cold metal is fun for sliding on. <reality>

Ice fisherman, as he slurps some borscht

Oooh. <reaction>

A plastic spoon would’ve been better. <story>

Cold metal is a tiny nuisance. <reality>

Flick: Yikes! <reaction>

Freezing flagpoles hurt. <story>

Cold metal = harmful beast. <reality>

tongue stuck to cold pole

Same cold metal. Totally different stories about it. Totally different realities. All true.

The glorious things is, most of the time, you can choose your own story. And get yourself a new reality!

++

All the world’s a stage and we are merely players.

Old man Bill had it almost right. When you consider that we create our own stories, and they determine our reality, we are the players, the directors, producers, and everything else in the only show that really matters.

Just knowing that your stories form your reality is a path to thinking differently

This simple, yet profound truth gives you the keys to destiny’s car. Now you can identify, evaluate, and change those stories to suit you better.

Try it! Pick an aspect of your life, business, or whatever that’s not serving you as well as you’d like. And tease out the story that forms the basis of it. Challenge the assumptions. And replace it with a new story. Just for fun.

If you’re stuck for ideas, hit me up here.

It may feel awkward, or less “real”, at first. But keep serving that new story to yourself.

Your unconscious mind will begin to adopt it. And once that happens, you’ll see changes aplenty.

Then take a picture. A new one. I bet it’ll reflect the essence of your new perspective perfectly.

cotton ball cloud (c) Brock Davis

cotton ball cloud (c) Brock Davis

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Featured Image Source: Zev

Smell You Later

Smell You Later

Breathe in deeply through your nose.

Let the aroma play with your olfactory sense like a kitten with yarn.

Like it? Good.

That’s the smell of your date on Friday night.

Fred Armisen wafts his B.O.

It’s true that the bulk of dating apps and services are centered around a photo, a profile, maybe a video and not much else. But an artist/engineer/designer has an idea that’s so old it’s new again.

She thinks you should choose your dates based on their smell

It’s primal, baby.

Bleu d' Chance perfume

Mic reports that Tega Brain, the brains behind the breakthrough, has created Smell Dating. The self-proclaimed “world’s first mail odor dating service,” Smell Dating gives users a different way to experience a potential partner.

Through the nose.

Here’s Tega Brain, on Mic:

“I wondered, ‘What if dating wasn’t based on visual information?'” she told Mic. She believes Smell Dating could be a more intuitive, natural alternative to other dating apps that are purely image driven. 

“The Internet has replaced fleshy experience with flat apparitions, avatars and painstakingly curated profile pics,” her site’s FAQ says. “Smell Dating closes digital distance by restoring your molecular intuition. Our members make connections via deeply intuitive cues, perfected in the ancient laboratory of human evolution. Surrender yourself to a poignant experience of body odor.”

Similar to pheromone parties, but a more private, one-on-one experience.

For some, this might bring to mind lurid scenes of nose-related sexuality.

scene from Teen Titans

Is this just a lark, a one-off dash of novelty in the dating world?

Or could this be the most authentic, deep way to connect with someone new?

Further, what does Smell Dating tell us about how smells affect us? About how we choose mates? About being a human?

10 ft spray bottle sprays man

I don’t know the answers.

But I know the questions.

I think we can agree this gives a new perspective on dating and, for that alone, it’s terrific. I’m sure it works for some people. Right on.

It changes the paradigm of how we seek a mate

What’s fascinating is how it does so by focusing on a particular sense.

We’ve explored how futzing with your senses can be eye-opening. Let’s expand Ms. Brain’s idea to include some of that.

What if we trade out the sensory fulcrum in the dating scene?

What if we start a dating event based on touch. You sit across from others with a black curtain between you. You put your hands through a flap that allows you to hold the other’s hands, touch their wrists, etc. It’ll give you a very tactile, kinesthetic interpretation of the person. Lots can be learned.

hands touching hands thru curtain

And it’s not so far-fetched, actually. The Science Explorer reports that “researchers predict dating websites will offer “full-sensory” experiences in the next 25 years, enabling customers to hear, feel, and smell potential partners via virtual reality.”

What if we start a start a dating app based on sounds? There are already several that make matches based on your taste in music. But I’m looking a little more personal, a little more everyday, a little more true you.

You enter audio clips of yourself throughout the day – singing in the shower, growling when the car doesn’t start up, just breathing, whatever – and share them with prospective dates, who choose based on what they hear.

Lastly, taste. I know what you’re thinking. And yes, the idea that you could choose a date based on what they taste like has a few too many unwelcome scenarios.

Camel licking face of girl

Instead, what if we start a dating service that’s predicated on tastes? You detail how you like to eat (do you prefer eating-with-your-hands picnic-style or are you more more refined?), when you like to eat, if you have any hang-ups with food/dining, etc. Maybe you even share a video of yourself eating, like Mukbang in Korea, to give others a better idea of your gustatory guile.

Breaking bread has always been a way to connect with others. This would effectively get you to the table with someone, fully vetted, before you actually share a meal.

In the end, we can think differently about dating by limiting information to one of the senses.

It might be all you need for a budding romance.

dog and lamb love each other

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Photo credit: photo credit: Don Hankins/flickr (CC by SA 2.0)

Get Biased Against Outcome Bias

Get Biased Against Outcome Bias

This is the second in a series of posts exploring cognitive biases, a frequent source of blind spots which inhibit an open mind. Read the first post here.


There’s a kid in my neighborhood – a young teenager – who’s not that keen on self-propelled transport machines. He likes the idea of them. He has his own. But when it comes to skateboards and bikes, he’s a little shaky.

I’ve tried to help him a few times. But it’s…odd. Once on the bike or board, he becomes a scared little boy, grasping my arm as if his life depended on it. He’s a pretty big guy and he holds onto me like he’s on the wing of a plane.

man on wing of a plane

It occurred to me that he needs to experience some independence. He needs to see he can do it on his own. And if he can’t, he needs to see that he can fall, survive, and learn to avoid it next time.

It’s not how many times we get thrown from the horse. It’s how many times we get back on.

Right? So I let go.

man falls off skateboard

He fell. And that’s when I heard it.

“See, that’s why I don’t want to ride my skateboard.”

What? That’s ridic! You never said you didn’t want to ride it. You probably pleaded to get the board in the first place. You’re only saying that because you fell.

I didn’t say that, of course. He’s a kid. But I thought it.

He only decided he didn’t want to ride his board after he fell. Because he fell. Before then, he was game.

That’s not legit. Is it?

Hayl no! It’s a cognitive bias known as outcome bias

Outcome bias is a subtle scourge. It’s decision-making bacteria eating the molecular make-up of your needs and desires.

It will blind you from deep, authentic motivations and keep you from making more appropriate, rewarding decisions.

What is outcome bias?

Outcome bias is the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome instead of judging it based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made.

It’s like when your boss tells you fifty times that the company doesn’t need social media, and after you post something to Facebook that gets 50 new subscribers, he says, “I’m very passionate about the benefits of social media.”

Franco goes Huh

He’s not concerned with what went into his decision BEFORE the Facebook post. He’s only evaluating his decision based on the results of the action.

Worse, now that he’s seen positive results from that one choice, chances are good he’ll continue to make choices the same, misguided way.

Likewise, if the results went the other way – you spent time on social media with no results – your boss could just as easily have gloated, even if it was still an objectively good decision.

Stephen Colbert with I told you so sign

And you’ll wring your hands with frustration because he’s not making decisions based on logic, prior evidence, or even recommendations. He just knows what he’s seen.

Why do we have outcome bias?

It alleviates the need to put more of our attention on details before making a decision. If we’re not willing to do the cost/benefit analysis, look at the case studies, listen to our advisors, get feedback from tests, or anything like that, we can still pat ourselves on the back if we get a good result. And we can chalk it up to chance when we don’t.

It’s the equivalent of saying the end justifies the means.

We’ve all heard that before in one form or another.

Mushroom cloud - end justifies the means

What can we do about it?

As with other blind spots, just having the self-awareness to look at how you make decisions is a large part of getting beyond it. For this, you should seek honest input from someone you highly respect. That can bring the bias to light.

Otherwise, you’ll need to make some changes for change’s sake.

Throw some decision-making spaghetti at the walls and see what sticks.

Make some decisions based on other people’s input, on existing data, on previous successes, on spreadsheets….

robot reindeer

The real-life feedback from that will illuminate your patterns and assumptions, providing you with the context to reconsider how you act in the future.

Don’t let outcome bias blind you from being the thoughtful, considerate genius you are

Resist the urge to judge your decisions based (only) on the most recent result. Make your choices based on all the information available and live with the outcome – good or bad.

You’ll be wheeling over outcome bias like it was a pebble in the Tour de France.

man on miniature bike

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Photo credit: Wallace Kirkland—Time & Life Pictures Getty Images

 

The Sound of Two Eyes Opening

The Sound of Two Eyes Opening

“If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.” -Ram Dass

My father and I have always had a push-pull relationship. For every time we connected, there was another we didn’t see eye-to-eye.

There’s no question I respect and love him unconditionally. He’s “been there” for me so many times, he truly earned his father’s day figurine.

think differently about dads

Simultaneously, there are times I struggle to understand his point of view, let alone agree with it. And I’ve pulled out quite a bit of proverbial hair in frustration. (To be fair, I am certain he’d say the same about me.)

But recently, something happened. A piece of information was shared that instantly shattered a preconceived belief of mine and caused a groundswell of compassionate acceptance.

It was just the type of epiphany this blog celebrates

via GIPHY

A little about that

When we see the world through a limited perspective, we only get limited benefits. That’s a problem that can affect every area of life, often unconsciously.

This blog was created to share stories that open your eyes, expand your mind, and in so doing, reshape your point of view. Without getting into the quantum physics of it all, know this:

As you change the way you look at the world, the world you look at changes

So reading this will almost literally rock your world!

Stand up and Cheer for your Epiphany

Ok. Aside aside

I often bring you other stories. But this one’s mine. It’s absolutely true. There was astonishment. And it made me think differently.

How it all began

When I was growing up, my dad and I had our share of disagreements. Many of them were notable (to me) for how facts were skewed (by him). I remember thinking he was fabricating the past just so he could make his point.

After many years of this, a label was made. My brother and I said he employed “selective memory”. I.e. He remembered what, and how, he wanted to remember.

You can only imagine my exasperation when I could get punished based on faulty, or worse, self-righteous memories.

via GIPHY

But there was an important piece of information unconsidered.

Dad said “What?” or “Beg your pardon?” a lot. Though he was loathe to admit it, he had hearing loss. And that, in all probability, was the reason for the misalignment between my recall and his.

But that’s not the eye-opening end of this story.

My father eventually admitted he had a problem. Had his ears checked. And got hearing aids.

And over the years, I’ve come to understand his issue. Even when I didn’t.

Because he would find every possible reason to *avoid* wearing his hearing aids. I never got a straight answer from him as to why. But I think he didn’t want to admit he had a problem. Unfortunately, this meant far too many misheard statements, requests to repeat yourself, and half-earnest nods-and-smiles to make it look as though he heard you.

I was sensitive to his hearing loss, but I would still get annoyed if I wasn’t being understood correctly… because he was rarely wearing his aids! And when he did wear them, they didn’t work well (or so he says). No matter how powerful they were.

How to hear differently

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, I guess. It’s no fun having to repeat myself, several times, as though I’m yelling to someone a mile away, But I acknowledge that it’s biology. He’s got a physical impairment. I can accept that. ’Tis what ’tis.

And yet, I’m still rankled when his selective memory rears its head. Even knowing what I know, I still near the end of my rope when he tells me, with absolute certainty, that I said something I would never, ever say.

I think it’s because he doesn’t back down. I don’t know if I ever heard him say, “Well, maybe I’m wrong. Sometimes I hear things incorrectly.” No, usually he holds his position as if its veracity was recorded on videotape.

And that’s when we return to the vexing Land of Impasse.

What is different about this bridge

What comes next may surprise you

Perhaps not coincidentally, my wife and I are dealing with audiologists and the like re my son. As fate may have it, he has his hearing issues, too.

I was on the phone with my father, telling him my kid might have CAPD – Central Auditory Processing Disorder.

If unfamiliar, auditory processing is how the brain translates the raw data of what you hear into the concepts we know and understand.

“When a person has central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), the part of the brain that translates what the ear delivers does not function properly. The person with CAPD can hear sounds, but how the brain translates those sounds is disrupted, and the end result is a garbled message.” –CAPDsupport.org

Then suddenly, my eyes were opened

My dad said, “Oh, yes. I have auditory processing disorder, too. I understand what he must go through.”

In that moment, my heart simultaneously broke and swelled for the man.

For so many decades, in so many cases, I would growl with frustration because he wasn’t remembering the way I remembered, wasn’t hearing the way I heard, wasn’t aiding himself the way I would.

But I never knew that he had auditory processing disorder.

All this time, even if he was hearing well enough, he wasn’t understanding the way you or I might. It explains everything.

  • I felt bad for being such a bear all those times.
  • I sympathized with his plight dealing with an unseen disability that was, until recently, also unknown.
  • I realized how difficult everyday conversations can be for him and how it may have affected relationships.
  • I grew enormously compassionate for my father. He is who he is. Living the best way he knows how. And that, as they say, is that.

I got a healthy dose of my own eye-opening medicine.

What’s it all mean in the end?

I will be more open-minded, gentler, and forgiving with people, regardless of my individual (often trivial, when you think about it) frustrations. McCartney may have said it best.

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