Sometimes things stick in my head and just sit there like a splinter until I finish working them out. Annoying things, useful things. Things that often matter only to me. Maybe this is something that matters to you, too.
I was having a conversation the other day about a particular situation wherein I had a choice in how to act (as we always do) when confronted with someone else’s mythic reality. (See Joseph Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) if you’re unfamiliar with the phrase mythic reality.) I could either break the other person’s reality or allow them to view me as a person who had done a horrible thing. (Horrible in their created story as I’d not committed a crime or the like.) Either choice can be correct depending on the circumstances. I chose to let them view me in that negative light rather than break their reality. Here’s why: they were bravely standing in a place of extreme vulnerability. To break someone’s reality in that situation I think makes you at minimum a clueless asshole. If you go in for the purposeful whammy you are not clueless, you are blatantly cruel. (We will exclude from this places where prior agreements have been made to break another’s mythic reality when necessary regardless of the vulnerability quotient. Those places are rare in my experience.)
So that was part one. Part two of this conversation came when the person I was conversing with replied to my reason for my choice of action with, “You took the hit.” I went on to explain that I felt no, not really, there was no hit to take because I had not in fact done the horrible thing so my reality remained unchanged. A quizzical look passed over their face when I said this (or it was just the glare from Skype), but it left me on thinking how both of those things could be true because I heard Truth in her assertion about taking a hit.
My conclusion is both can true depending on which reality you are speaking of. Internal reality, it is true my reality is not affected. External reality wherein repercussions can bounce back through the community and telephone game style go from “did a horrible thing” to “is a horrible person” can be true, also. What one person sees as taking a hit when looking outward another can see as not hitting when looking inward. So, both are true.
When do I think breaking someone’s mythic reality is an okay thing to do? One example is mentioned above with prior agreements. Another is when they come to you in the moment and say, “This is what I think happened because I feel [this]. Did that actually happen?” That occurs usually when someone has worked with the idea of how we create our own stories and what mythic reality means. A third example is when they are no longer standing in that place of extreme vulnerability and at a later date they bring up the “horrible thing you did”.
Discussion can be useful and allow them to see other ways of reacting/acting in their life. Not useful would be later discussion just to “be right” and let them know just how right you are. Useful mostly happens when they initiate the later discussion. Not useful happens when you seek them out to tell them they imagined things based on their internal dialogue.
So, what if they never seek out discussion on the topic with you or someone else who was there at the time? You indeed take the hit. And sometimes that is just the way it goes. If those repercussions bounce back to you there is little you can do about it except continue to live as a person who does not do horrible things and allow it to sort itself out.
The potential to have to take a hit is part of the agreements you make when you step into a leadership role whether it is as a parent, a boss, or a Priestess. It is part of the agreements I have made with my Gods for when I interact with my community. No cruelty, take the hits, and be okay with that.
Aaaahhhhhh ….. splinter gone.