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Taking Things Out Of Context September 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
40 comments

Sally-BrownThe perspective we bring to what we read affects our “take away.”

If we read something when we are angry, we perceive the writer’s words in a different way than we would when feeling calm and peaceful.

We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. ~ Anais Nin

Experiences that come to mind while reading also flavor our perception.

For example, if I talk about a “pothole in the path” while picturing a broken thermos or some other insignificant obstacle, my words may make sense.

Donald-Duck-MadIf a reader stumbles upon my words after experiencing a catastrophic event (e.g., having their home washed away in a flood or mowed down by a tornado), that reader’s experiential overlay will impact their interpretation of my words, and may cause them to conclude, “That’s Just Crazy Talk!”

“We see the world behind our eyes.”

The ability to take things out of context is facilitated when reading blog posts and e-mails because we cannot hear the writer’s inflection.

Donald-DuckaWords written in a calm and soothing tone may be transformed into an angry and hostile diatribe or attack depending on what’s going on in our head as we read.

Our history with the person in question may magnify this phenomenon.

When we like and admire someone, we view their words without suspicion.  If something sounds “off,” we’re apt to give them the benefit of the doubt.

In contrast, if we’re not a fan of a writer, our distrust may season their words, causing them to become bitter, unpalatable, and hard to swallow.

Donald-Duck-BaseballIf a writer’s words rub you the wrong way, take a look at what you’re bringing to the table.

When we leave our hostility and animosity at the door, the world becomes a friendlier place.

A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Social media can be bad for people without foresight, impulse control, self-awareness, and the ability to anticipate consequences. ~ Eric J. Baker