Assumptions: Our Own Worst Enemy

Posted on January 27, 2018

While there may be some supernatural exceptions, most humans are unable to read others' minds. And when I say most, I really mean the vast majority. Therefore, it is all up to our own interpretation of what others do that decides our attitudes.

It is not uncommon to get "blue-ticked" by friends and acquaintances alike on WhatsApp or other instant messaging mediums, whereby the blue ticks at the bottom of the message indicate that the person on the end has received and read the message, but has not responded. One would then imagine that the other person could be ignoring the message on purpose, and almost immediately, the thought of "Did I do something wrong?" would surface.

In reality, there could have been many reasons why the person did not reply; the other party might be unable to reply at that moment, or a glitch might have occurred, rendering him or her unable to use the internet. But due to our tendency as humans, our brains have a negative bias where we tend to picture the worst possible scenario, in a true "hope for the best, prepare for the worse" fashion. In a bid to protect ourselves, the brain is hardwired into visualizing the worst possible scenarios of even the most trivial of cases.

Another possible reason could be our past experiences that have influenced our current way of thinking. Perhaps one had faced similar situations where one was ignored because one had did something to make the other party angry, and therefore one would inevitably think about the current position in the same manner. In either case, there is no helping the way our brains form these mental shortcuts; we adapted this method to save both time and energy after all.

There are three easy steps one can take, fortunately, to avoid these situations as much as possible. Firstly, one must make oneself aware of the stories one's mind is making up about the situations. We often fill in the gaps of our own knowledge with things which may or may not be true, but we shouldn't take these self-invented tales as the truth and act on them. Secondly, one should view the situation from different perspectives. Looking at it from the other party's point of view helps a lot too. Finally, always check with the other party as much as possible. Once again, we can't read minds (mostly), so we should always try to ask in order to avoid having misunderstandings about each other.

While it may seem easy to point these out right now, fact of the matter is that completion of all the steps listed above is a herculean task that often doesn't come to mind. Try to keep a journal entry, or perhaps see a therapist for some help if you think you need it!

Category(s):Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance

Source material from PsychCentral

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