Just a quickie this week, based on a conversation with a friend who shared that what she had experienced about something was so totally different from what I had experienced it made me stop and think: which is always a good thing.
The circumstances are relatively unimportant, but the meaty bit is that I thought someone was being pretentious, and she thought they were being lovely and sociable.
Same situation, seen at the same time: totally different interpretation. And of course, even if we are not choosing what we see (which we often are) we are choosing how we interpret it. Our interpretation is based on our experience, beliefs and values and sense of self, and from that interpretation we make our judgements and take our actions.
And we do this stuff all the time. Local or national, personal or generic, it means that what you see isn’t what you get, because what you get has been through your ‘filters’ before you get it! (picture from digislider.co.uk)
As Will Schutz said:
I see the world through myself. I am not an objective observer, I view you, jobs, events through what I am
And for this particular example of our differing views of a stranger Schutz offers this thought:
…my liking of you has very little to do with you. It depends on how I perceive you. I like you if I like myself when I am with you
So if I feel good about me when I am with you, then I like you.
So why did I think the stranger pretentious? Because he started speaking to the Germans at the next table in German!! My friend is good at languages, I am not, and I suspect that was the root of my reaction to him: I saw him as pretentious because I was jealous of his language skill. That was my filter!
Interesting isn’t it when we are 1% more honest with ourselves. It’s hard to admit what it reveals sometimes too! But by being 1% more honest we gain in understanding, and the more we understand the more we give ourselves a choice about what we do.
So I can see those with language skills as pretentious, or I can choose to brush up my own language skills and join in!
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