Life is bigger than our explanations of it. To be in touch with life, go beyond your explanations.

Julio Olalla

In this quote, I think that Julio Olalla is saying that if we only stick to our stories and opinions when attempting to interpret life, our experience of life could well be limited; that to really experience life, perhaps we should be curious about what lies beyond our explanations of it.

In a recent post, I mentioned that, as we go through life, we create stories and opinions of the world as we see it. We may form judgements of ourselves and others based on our history – the culture that we grew up in, our family narratives, our experiences over time. The important point to consider here is that these stories and opinions are a single interpretation of the world; they are not the only interpretation of the world. Our stories and assessments tell us very little about how the world really is, and a lot about how we are.

I recall a birthday party that I attended many years ago. As I moved around the room talking to people, it seemed that most people were having a great time. I then came across a couple, sitting in the corner on their own. I started talking to them, asking them how they were enjoying the party. Their response was that it was a terrible party. They then proceeded to tell me that “Everyone is too stuck up to come and talk to us. No one has said hello. It’s boring. We are sitting here and being ignored.” I found this quite fascinating. The other 48 people at the party were having a fantastic time, and yet these two people were not.

My guess is that if anyone asked these people later how the party was, they would have said that it was boring and horrible. To them, this would have been how the world of the party actually was. When I spoke to them at the party, I didn’t feel as though they would ever have thought that the party could have been anything else but boring and horrible, and I suspected that anyone thinking any differently to them would have been considered wrong.

I don’t want to judge these people; their opinions are legitimate. However, I do have a curiosity about what might have been going on for them that resulted in them forming the opinion that the party was boring and horrible. Why did they feel as though people were ignoring them? Did they feel as though it was “wrong” that they were being ignored and, if so, why? Why did they not feel as though they could go and talk to others rather than waiting for others to come and talk to them? What made it necessary for others to say hello to them first? Why did it not occur to these people that they could initiate the “hello”? In the eyes of these people, what makes someone “stuck up”? How do they react to people after forming an opinion that those people are “stuck up”?

What would have happened, I wonder, if the people in my story had taken the time to look beyond their explanations? What if they had tried to understand what was behind their opinions and stories? Would their experience of the party have been different?

This quote by Julio Olalla opened up quite a lot for me when I read it and I think I was left with a feeling of freedom afterwards; the freedom to create whatever I want from life, and the freedom to make that happen.

Points to Ponder…

  • How are your explanations of the world helping you?
  • How would it help to look beyond those explanations?

– The featured image in this blog post is a photo by Mark Broadhurst on Pexels

Who am I? 
I am a leadership and life coach, available for coaching and facilitation services. If you feel that it would be useful to have a conversation with me, please feel free to view my services on the Leading and Being website.

3 thoughts on “Words for the Weekend – 25-26 May 2019

  1. I always make a point at parties or social gatherings to speak to people, otherwise I think I would be bored, I do think people need to push themselves to chat to people. You often find that you speak to some wonderful people. Others may have interpreted this person as being rude for sitting not interacting, or just wanting to be left alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting. I agree with you around finding wonderful people to speak to. I also think it is interesting that others may have made a totally different assessment of that individual, potentially missing out on a great opportunity.. I find that in some situations, I am the person who sits to the side and finds it hard to interact. Other times, I am the person who chats to everyone. It depends a lot on the situation and how I am interpreting myself in that situation. In some ways, I feel as though this has got harder for me as I have got older, because it is now more important to me that my conversations are meaningful and authentic. When I was much younger, I probably didn’t consider these points.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, it does depend on the situation and it can be particularly challenging when you feel out of place….I find this sometimes in work situations when in a large group.

        Liked by 1 person

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