Perspective is the thing, isn’t it? It affects how we interpret EVERYTHING we see and hear. And, I will venture to say that NO ONE actually, really and truly, hears what another person is saying. Not really. Almost always there will be something ‘lost in translation’. Everyone reads (sometimes VERY wrongly) between the lines – and all of that reading is done with a distinct bias toward one’s own experience. No wonder communication is so difficult. No wonder relationships are so hard. Misunderstandings abound because it isn’t a question of Mars and Venus, women and men nonsense (afterall, the majority of the time I get grossly misunderstood it is by other women). It’s an issue of NONE OF US SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE! No two of us on this sphere speaks the very same thing and, therefore, understanding what people MEAN (uncoloured by YOUR standpoint) is extremely hard.
I don’t have any clever advice for this. I just wish more people were aware of it, and that those people who are aware of it would admit it. We can all endeavour to listen better to others and attempt to not add our slant to it but, first, that requires admitting we ALL have a problem with this. And, even if we all did that, it would still be a major challenge not to infer how we feel about things when we are listening to someone else share their feelings/ideas/story. We are all simply incomprehensible (to one degree or another) to each other. I believe it is only by the grace of God (whether you believe in Him or not) that we are able to communicate with each other at all. Humans are so very good at being selfish and self-absorbed and just plain excellent at getting it terribly wrong wrong wrong!
We can desire greater understanding – and that’s a noble desire. But, I have seen the people who claim to be the most understanding get it really very wrong because they are completely incapable of seeing past the framework of their own experience. We will only ever get anywhere with understanding others – having better relationships, etc – as we admit the problem and work to choose to stand in another person’s shoes. And, when our limitations force us to admit that we cannot stand in that other person’s shoes, then we need to be big enough to shut up. Because, we cannot judge what we do not understand.
Well, first blog post of 2013. I doubt it will be that popular. Afterall… who else is going to (really) understand it but me? 😉