An About You Page
“You’re wrong.” The mind is an amazing and tricky thing. Staying objective in a situation you’re directly involved in is extremely difficult. It’s the reason therapists have jobs. Unfortunately for us, our friends, and our families, it’s significantly easier to clearly see everything that is going wrong when we are looking at a scenario that we ourselves have no emotional investment in.
Given a situation where I’m asking my friends or family for advice, I’m already disqualifying the advice they’re going to give, before they even give it to me! Why is it then that I’m even asking for advice from them, and why would I not listen when they do give it!?
Every person you interact with day to day is assigned a ranking of their expertise in the given topic, and people who fall under the category of friends or family are automatically ranked with a “glass ceiling”. You’ve created a maximum level they can hit which is never set greater than your own. This is a form of cognitive bias, where people go “What you’re saying makes sense but you don’t understand the situation I’m in” and use that as a reason to dismiss what is being said. This glass ceiling is dependent on the type of relationship you have with the person you’re interacting with.
Similarly, people who are able to give excellent, sound advice, for their friend find themselves incapable of following the same advice for their own situations often with a similar excuse. Alternatively they just completely fail to recognize that the situation they’re in is similar enough for the same advice to apply.
There are so many “novelty” posts online that are viral, math problems that people can’t agree on, the “syndrome” known as Typoglycemia (Transposed letter effect), even the big question of “What color is the dress” all come back to the same thing. Our mind influences what we see and shapes our perspective in scary ways. Who is to say what is wrong or right, when everything we perceive is being changed without us even knowing about it! In Math and Science, this is why we have outside tools for measuring, since we can’t trust ourselves to be objective enough to take accurate measurements.
Make a conscious effort to notice the glass ceiling the next time you find yourself unloading on a friend or family member, and they have advice for you. Use their perspective to see if your perception changes, you can still decide you know better after and ignore the advice.
More than that, next time you’re in an argument with your friend, co-worker, or significant other, stop and ask these questions (yes out-loud to the other person):
- What does my friend think I did?
- What do I think I did?
- What does my friend think I’m saying?
- What do I think I’m saying?
- Does my friend feel like I’ve hurt them?
- Do I feel like I hurt my friend?
Are the answers from each perspective the same? Why would they be different? Remember in this case we can’t trust our perspective to guide us right from wrong, the only thing we can trust is that our opinion is probably skewed in our favor. Since we don’t have a way of measuring the objective outcome, unless we involve a third person, our only option is to force ourselves to take responsibility for the perception of others at least when it comes to our own actions. You can’t guarantee that you won’t mess up, but you can guarantee that if they feel like you did that you’ll rectify it.
Ask yourself one last question “Would I want my friend to consider my feelings, if they did something that I didn’t like, that they didn’t think is wrong.”. Be honest with yourself, this answer will always be yes, and the only reason for you to not return the same courtesy is if you felt they are less than you, which trust me, is your brain fooling you again. Talk about the differences and work towards maintaining a neutrality that works for all parties involved. When you both understand where you’re coming from, you’ll find it much easier to come to an accord. People don’t mind reasonably sacrificing themselves for each other, as long as they understand why, and what, and are given the courtesy of being asked first. We call these favors.
If we can show each other that we care about them enough to consider their perspective, especially transparently, it’ll create a deeper level of trust in the relationship (personal, or business). If we can receive advice from someone else and take it seriously instead of just dismissing it, if we can grow past an argument and resolve it in a way that demonstrates you care more about the person than being right, we will improve collectively as a people and actually start to love each other the way we should.