• David Unger, PhD

Hyperbole



This is the only blog you will ever have to read. It has everything you need to live a better life. If you never read another self-help book or article it will not matter. This is it. End of story.


I work in a school where hyperbole rules the day. Everything is awesome. Or the worst thing ever. The vast middle ground has been abandoned. It is a black and white world.


I tend to not get swept up in teenage behavior. It is hard enough for them to negotiate those years without the adults joining in the exaggerated emotions. Teenagers are experiencing many things for the first time and it is no wonder things come at them with a bigger splash than for those of us who have been through a few more of these dramas. We have had our first love, first crushing defeat and a host of other firsts. It is hard to get worked up in the quite the same way the third time someone breaks your heart or you can’t find anything to wear.


I accept the hyperbolic of youth. What I have trouble with is how the people in the media think they have to keep ramping everything up for us to pay attention. In Southern California we never have rain forecast. That is not just because it never rains here. It is because we always have “Storm warnings.” Everything becomes exaggerated. Gone are the days when a headline spoke the facts. News becomes amplified to get our attention. No longer do we care about “Some” or “Nice” or “Good.” We want “Most,” “Best” and “Worst.”


I read an article on Time magazine’s website titled: This is the One Thing Ruining Your Relationship. I really did not like that title. Let me ask you do you think there is one thing that is ruining pretty much everyone’s relationships? It is possible that one thing is stinking up your relationship, but do you think that is true for most everyone? To the article’s credit it acknowledges the research of one of John Gottman, MD, one of the few writers in the self-help world that actually does research. Even with some generalize able research it is hard to argue that the thing that is ruining all our relationships is that “You believe that there is only one true reality.”


Yes we all like to right. Yes we all try have things work out the way we want them. Yes we have an idea of how things ought to go so they would fit perfectly in our world. Yes, we often know what we want and we try to get it. But, somewhere in kindergarten we learn that we don’t always get what we want and other people see things differently than we do. So while we still want what we want. We also quickly learn we need to adapt. Maybe sulk and whine, but we have all learned you need to go along to get along.


I do agree that how you negotiate/compromise and work out the differences with those close to you the less ruin you will have in your relationships. We all need to know when to stand up for what we want, when to back down, push back and when and how to find acceptable passageways.


I agree that a thing that is ruining all our relationships is we want to be right. We want our way of doing things to be the prevent way. We want life to be the way we want it to be and sometimes we get intransient about it. Or whining or just no fun to be around.


So, if you want to save yourself and the world and make everything better please consider not having things be the way you want them so much.


Have them be more the way I want them to be.


That was a joke. But not really.


I am suggesting to you that how you language the things in your life helps put them in perspective. So while I could say “This is the life-changing, mind-altering, cosmic shift that will enlighten your world and magically transform to be the person you want to me,” I could also say “Hope this blog engages you.”


In many ways the world is becoming more extreme. There are more storms and horrific acts of nature. People harm each other in newfound ways. They also help each other in newfound ways. There are plenty of occasions when breaking out the hyperbole nails the occasion. Other times, why not tone down the exaggeration.


Often when people are arguing their case and trying to get their right way of doing things into better motion they exaggerate. Any parent of a teenager has heard some version of “Everyone is doing it.” Doesn’t matter if it is in regards to extending a curfew or bending some other rule, teens think it will help their cause if they could demonstrate that what they are asking is not out of the norm. This strategy often gets parents to soften their position which makes it a popular approach.


Yet I caution teenagers, parents and anyone else to not think they need to pull the “everyone else is doing it” card. First off, the other person will start off by nit picking you and say “Not everyone.” This will start a skirmish that pulls you off track. But second off, and more importantly, the fact that you feel a certain way or want a certain thing is plenty good enough reason for it to be heard and honored. Maybe it won’t be attended to in quite the way you want. Yet if something is important to you it is important to those around you. It does not need to be exaggerated. It just needs to be spoken, heard and respected.

#JohnGottman #TimeMagazine #RuiningyourRelationship #Hyperbole

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