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The 3 Sides of Every Story: The Known, the Hidden and the Unknown

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The Unknown

Contrary to what we have been told over the years, it is important we remind ourselves that every story has three sides: the known side, the hidden side, and the unknown side.

We are aware of the popular saying that every story has two sides just like how every coin has two sides. But you and I know from experience and fact that it is not true.

A coin is able to have two sides because one other side made it possible. We may call that side the edge of the coin. It may be insignificant. It may not carry a decorated design, a crafted head of someone or image of things in the same way the other two flat sides were. But one thing is for sure, it is still a side of a coin, and it is that side that made the two other sides possible. We often neglect that side, we don’t usually know what to call it. It is simply unknown.

When I hear stories especially stories involving two people and particularly about a man and a woman, I often will ask myself, now that you have heard the known side, what is the hidden and the unknown sides of the story?

Whenever something happens, the known side is usually what every one can see. It is that part which is open to all. Like the coin, when you place it on the table or when the referee before a game toss it and place it on his palm, one side will always be opened.

Take for instance, the trending issue about the Nigerian actress whose daughter got married and the father to the girl was not invited.

The known side is what we all could see. We saw their marriage. We saw that the father of the girl was not there. But can we categorically and without presuming state clearly why he was not there or why he was not invited? This takes us to the second part.

The part of the story we do not know is what I called the hidden side. It is hidden because it is not what is readily at the surface for all to see. It is like the other part of the coin that is covered when placed on a table. To be sure of what the covered side looks like, one will need to uncover it.

It is dangerous to operate on the level of presumption here. Uncovering the hidden side will mean checking out all those involved in the story. You may be shocked what you may discover.

Then, the very important part, the unknown side. This is what holds the story together. Most times those involved in the story may not even be aware of what is motivating their actions.

This part goes beyond what we can see, it goes beyond what the person may have explained as the reason behind his or her action. Most of our actions are motivated by certain things that we are entirely not conscious of. This is why how Mr A will react to certain things will be totally different from how Mr B will if put in exactly the same situation.

When you have been able to decipher the unknown part of a story, you just succeeded in knowing the story in its entirety.

So, next time when you read a story online, ask yourself if you know the hidden part, and most importantly, the unknown side of the story before you start putting blame on one party.

By Fr. Kelvin Ugwu

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