Thursday, August 24, 2006

Anatomy of a misunderstanding

misunderstand: v.t. & v.i. To understand wrongly; misinterpret.

misunderstanding: n. A mistake as to meaning or motive.

I'm beginning to realize how subjective people are. (subjective: adj. 1. Of or belonging to that which is within the mind and not subject to independent verification. 2. Expressing very personal feelings or opinions. 3. Highly influenced by the emotions or by prejudice). And that includes me.

I pride myself on being thoughtful and fair, not jumping to conclusions, looking at all sides of a situation before forming an opinion. This week I was hit smack in the face with exactly how easy it is to lose all of those good intentions. And how I'm not nearly as fair minded as I liked to believe. It's not easy to look in that mirror.

When words are spoken, or written, they mean something to the speaker. They're sent out into the world, filtered through each listener's, or reader's, understanding - which is subject to that person's mental/emotional state, experience, and thought process. By the time those words get through, they can mean something completely different than what was originally intended.

All it takes is the breakdown between the original intent and the ultimate interpretation for a misunderstanding to happen. It's a wonder we communicate at all.

We can never really know what another person's motives or thoughts are. All we have to go by is what they say or how they act when they're around us, and even then we have to realize that what we perceive is filtered through our own, personal little universe.

What a trap it is to think we can. And - once again - by "we," I mean me.

I have to constantly remind myself: "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again." Matthew 7:1-2.

It's so easy to assume meanings and motivations, and even easier to spew our assumptions like a poison water sprinkler.

It's not so easy cleaning up the mess.

3 Comments:

Blogger Eva L. Beech said...

Very well written. It is a good thing we (and by we, I mean me) am learning too. That is why (I learned from you) It is VITAL when you think someone has hurt you, be mature enough to confront them without jumping to conclusions and making yourself look like a complete ass. And considering I am good at it, it is easy for me to spot! ;-)

No one is perfect, lest of all me, but we are all human and wouldn't be if we didn't make mistakes. The important thing is love and friendship and wonderful people surrounding you that realize you are human and love you when you are willing to ask for forgiveness.

Besides trying not to judge, I have learned, Just because someone doesn't love you the way you think they should, doesn't mean they don't love you the best way they know how. Everyone one of use needs to be evaluated and handled in a different way.

I am thankful for all of you!

12:09 PM  
Blogger Cas said...

Very well put yourself, momma!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

You know, wasn't it someone really wise that said, "to err is human, but to forgive is divine" or something along those lines? We all make mistakes (lord knows I've made a million of em) and we all deserve forgiveness when we honestly ask for it. And friends will always be there for you when you stumble. :-)

9:43 PM  

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