I record a couple of podcasts. When I finish recording them, I use a program called Audacity to edit out unwanted noise such as pops, hisses and meowing cats. Here is how it works – I copy the recorded podcast from my voice recorder onto my computer in mp3 format, then I launch Audacity and import the mp3. I am now able to see a picture of what the recording looks like as a waveform. A flat line represents silence and a bunch of raised bars together represent sound, mostly spoken voice but also background noise. At this point, I examine the waveform, look for signs of unwanted noise and cut them out.
When you first import a recording, you can see the whole waveform – beginning to end – within the width of the screen. You have the option to zoom in closer to the waveform, making it easier to identify the noise. Just as zooming in closer to a picture makes the picture appear bigger and allows you to see the minutiae, so it is with the waveform. Zoomed in, a slight hiss in the background amidst a string of silence will appear as a large spike in the middle of a flat line. Zoomed out, you would not be able to see it as easily.
As we relate to other people, conflicts occur. This is a fancy way of saying, “Relationships are hard.” Whether it is between friends, family members, spouses or dating partners, there will be times during the relationship in which things are difficult. There will be fights and disagreements, and people will get their feelings hurt. I say this with authority because I am an asshole – just ask my wife.
My wife and I have lots of problems. We need help. We have fights that range in magnitude from disagreeing over what to cook for dinner one night, to spending too much money on clothes which prevents us from making rent one month. I am a sensitive person so I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about our problems well after they have been resolved. Feelings of anger and guilt, left over from a fight, outstay their welcome. This tendency of mine to dwell on these problems – or, my impaired ability to “let it go” – has made our problems more difficult than they already are, but I recently started looking at it a different way.
My wife and I will stay together forever. There is no question about that. Our fights get vicious at times, and it seems like the logical thing to do, in those cases, would be for us to get divorced, but we never will. We are in it for the long run. To view our marriage – our life together – this way, as a whole, is to look at it with a very broad focus. It is as if we are zooming far out so that we can see our whole relationship within the width of a single screen. When we have a fight, and I lock onto the fight and let it get to me, I am looking at our relationship with a very narrow focus; I have zoomed so far in that the current conflict appears to be the end. Under this view, the conflict looks like a large spike in the middle of a flat line of peace. Zoom out, see our relationship in its entirety and the fight is a mere blip on the radar; it is such a small spike that you can barely notice it.
You see where I am going with this?
Relationships are like waveforms.
There are problems – pops, hisses, blips – scattered about them. When you look at them closely and focus on the problems, they seem to be major but when you examine the entire thing at once, they are but tiny errors.
Relationships and waveforms both have problems that can appear large or small, depending on how far zoomed in you are. When you zoom in close to a waveform and an instance of noise becomes a large spike, you are able to cut it out more easily because you can see it better.
In relationships, if one were to zoom in and focus on a problem so that it appears to be major, does it then become just as easy to cut out? If so, how would one do that?
Leave a reply with your thoughts.