I was recently standing in my bathroom, straightening my hair when it happened. I jerked as I burned my finger with the straightener, and I thought, “what?!? I thought I was going in the right direction?!” And in this moment I realized how often we all fall prey to this struggle – man, woman, those with straight hair or those with curly hair like myself. This problem is no respecter of persons, because it’s a problem involving something we all have – perspective.
See, as I looked in the mirror it seemed (from my perspective) that my free hand was going in the right direction – away from the heated object. How could I be wrong? I was looking at myself in the bathroom mirror?
And how many of us go through life, thinking that people, situations, interactions, and occurrences are exactly how we perceive them. That REALITY = PERCEPTION? Or would it be more accurate to say that the way we perceive something may not be exactly as perfect of a reflection as we might originally think?
I will sometimes present this equation to the clients that I counsel:
(LIFE EXPERIENCES+KNOWLEDGE) + REALITY = PERCEIVED REALITY
The way that we experience a dispute with our spouse, an interaction with a co-worker, or a simple look from our employer may not always be the most accurate depiction of what really occurred.
I was recently counseling a married couple who have been married for 17 years. There are some concerns with the behavior of one of their sons and the wife made a comment during the session that sent her husband into a semi-controlled rage, accusing her of undermining his authority. A simple question posed by me opened the door for deeper communication and understanding. I asked the husband, “What did you hear her say?” As I had expected, what he reported “hearing” was simply his wife’s words filtered through a few of his personal assumptions and feelings.
We all have filters through which we process situations, interactions, and conversations. This week, I would like to encourage you to join me in practicing to be more aware of our filters. It just might minimize miscommunication, disputes, or confusion. 🙂