Don’t you find it interesting when several people hear the exact same message at the same time, and they all walk away with very different interpretations of what they just experienced? Why is that?

We have our own perspectives, our own interpretations – they are unique to each one of us. They are shaped mostly by our upbringing, then our education as well as life’s experiences.

I could give a compliment to one person and her friend, standing beside her, wonders – what’s wrong with me? Why didn’t Sandra compliment me? How we interpret a situation is based on what we believe about ourselves and the world around us

You could have grown up in a family where you were afraid to make a mistake. You spilled milk, or broke something and your parents slapped you, told you you were stupid and not to be so clumsy. When that happens enough times, you are likely to hide or deny that you did anything to avoid being yelled at or hit.

Or, you could have grown up in a family where you spilled milk or made a mistake and your parents showed you where to get the cloth to clean it up or the information you needed to not repeat the mistake. They may have asked you what you learned from that experience and let you know it’s ok. You will likely grow less afraid.

We have our own belief systems that are created from the time we are children. We learn at a very young age how to navigate our family and any problems that arise. We can be resourceful and look out for ourselves or we can seek comfort in the arms of our parents. If they aren’t capable of comforting us in that moment, we find alternative ways to make it though.

For many years, our main reference point is our family. Good, bad or ugly. We grow up absorbing those values and behaviours and over time they begin to define us. When we get older, we may find that those values and behaviours serve us well, or they prevent us from being happy or fulfilled – then we need to re-evaluate them and perhaps change them.

When you interact with another person and their behavior upsets you – keep in mind that they have their own view of the world and it may be very different than yours. Rather than get upset, find out what they meant or why they did what they did – be curious and be open. Everyone has the right to their own opinion and view.