Have you ever had a conversation or interaction with someone and by the end of it, you or the other individual walked away disappointed or taken aback by what you thought you heard the other person say? This has ruined the stability of many relationships. It’s even more common in this day and age because we have so many methods of communication including those that are not always the best or personable option for communicating like Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc.). I’ve observed in many instances where something that was shared by one person was misinterpreted by someone reading it and as a result, they either responded negatively, or in judgment of the other person, or the message/viewpoint being shared. A lot of times this is due to the perception of the individual who is interpreting what has been shared or the thought not being shared in a clear and concise way. It is natural for us to breakdown information in our own way because we are each shaped by our own experiences and opinions; however, we must be careful not to let judgment lead us in translating the actions or thoughts of others. I believe that when dealing with others we must first have a change in perception by purposefully believing that there is always positive intention unless we learn otherwise. Phillipians 2:1-4 (Message) reads: “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, – then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word Perception is defined as “the way you think or understand someone or something.” I came across a great quote using the word: “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” – Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception. If we see things only from our point of view, then we risk falling into judgment. If we have a question about the intent, but never ask the person for an explanation, then we lose out on an opportunity for effective sharing and the opportunity to learn from a teachable moment. We owe it to ourselves and one another to build effective relationships by being open and allow for free speech and individual experience. Society as a whole as well as the media/news do a super job of its own of reporting the tragic and negative stories and spinning their viewpoint so why would we bring that same mentality into our day to day relationships? Life brings with it enough stress so why add to it that which is unnecessary or based on false perception? Don’t internalize what doesn’t build you up – everything is not for everybody. I try my best to live by a wisdom nugget that I learned some years ago and while it works for me the majority of the time: “Chew up the meat, spit out the bones”, and might I add – keep it moving.
Dear Lord: Please help me from this moment forward to commit to: (1) respecting another persons’ space for thought/opinion. (2) Not allow someone else’s opinion to affect my mood or response in a negative way. (3) Be open to always being receptive to new learning opportunities and correctly translating what is being shared. A change in perception will empower me to eliminate unnecessary judgment and negativity from my mind and personal space. This is my Prayer and Declaration – In Jesus Name!