Most people believe that their actual experience is a fact. It is as it is.
When somebody experiences the same event in a different way, we’re quick to assume that the other person got it wrong.
In fact, we’re both right – however much we differ from one another. That’s because, the way we experience everything is influenced by our background, past experiences, our values and beliefs, and cause us to perceive and interpret things through a particular frame of reference – which varies from person to person.
Think back to a heated conversation which was sparked because both of you experienced the same event in a completely different way. You both believe that the other person is being deliberately perverse.
Here’s an example: One person says angrily to you: ”You said (so and so)! I’m not having it!” (or words to that effect). You’re totally confused. “But I never said that! What I actually said was … “ but they’re so angry they can’t even hear you. And the disagreement escalates to conflict with both of you convinced you’re in the right – because that’s your reality, the way you experienced and interpreted this particular incident.
So what causes these differences in perception? The mechanism is your inner dialogue. This inner dialogue is habitual, that is, we don’t realise that we’re operating on automatic pilot.
The point is that what determines our reality is not what happens to us but how we interpret and respond to what happens to us – the difference between a contented life and one littered with frustrations.
Is there a way out? I think there is. Try this:
When something happens that upsets you, ask yourself, “Could I look at (this) in a different way?” and write down everything that occurs to you – from “they ignored me”, “I must have done something to upset them”, “she looked like she was miles away!” or “she looked upset. I’ll give her a call and see if she’s OK”.
Whatever the conclusion you come to will affect how you relate with them in the future.
Most of the time we’re unaware that we function on automatic pilot which is how we create our reality without realising we’re doing it. No wonder our lives and relationships are such hit and miss affairs!
To open up your mind to new possibilities, download my free e-book ‘Make Friends With Yourself’®. It will show you how, one step at a time.