CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In these days of volatile political ads, fact checkers are used to sort out inaccuracies. But what about those thoughts we let run rampant through our heads? You know -- the ones that keep building on top of each other.
Without an internal fact checker, at times these assumptions can gain enough steam that there's no turning back. Even worse, when shared with others, these thoughts pick up even more steam and can take on a life of their own.
This past week I dealt with an uncomfortable scenario. It seemed there was no way out. Yet, I had a gut feeling that the contemplated course of action was not the right one. I took some time to "unplug," rewind the situation back to the beginning, confront the source and allow myself to be open to other interpretations.
Much to my relief, I learned some things that helped set the course straight and offered an opportunity for a clean slate. In fact, it opened up a whole new avenue that everyone in the situation is now excited about exploring.
It took stopping and listening, though -- weighing the risk/benefit ratio of taking such action. And it took courage on both sides of the equation.
In hindsight, I realize how I'd allowed a series of rumblings to affect my thinking. While there was definitely enough responsibility to go around, the unhealthy thing is that suspicions were being built up on both sides. It's as if everyone was "collecting evidence" to support his or her own point of view. And our head of steam had built up to a runaway train.
Of course, the situation could have turned out differently. It could have exploded, rather than find its way back to a civil solution. But that's the risk I was willing to take -- because I didn't want to let it play out to an ultimate demise without at least trying to stop the train and evaluate things.