People only hear what they want to hear

This is the flipside to the post I was trying to write yesterday - we only see what is relevant to the self. In the same way that we only see our self interest in our daily interactions, so too do other people. They are just seeing themselves in all things that they are doing. There's nothing wrong with that until we expect people to see things from our point of view and then a certain amount of frustration kicks in.

For example, when we have a conversation with someone we automatically assume they can see things from our point of view. It seems obvious to us what the truth is and they should agree with us or empathise with our situation. Not so. We all see things differently and from our own self centered perspective - it is impossible to do otherwise. In any situation, unless we are highly mindful, our brain automatically filters down information that we hear dependant on our past experiences and mood at the time. I might say "the sky is a lovely blue today" and different people might hear it different ways. An outdoor person might feel frustration that they are stuck inside and say "I wish I was in the mountains today", an angry person might say "who cares, what about this crap I have to deal with", a defensive person might say "it's not going to last", and so on. That's just with a simple neutral statement!

It's useful to bear all this in mind when we go to see a healthcare professional. They hear what you have to say, they process it in their self view, they deliver their response and then we're done. Frustration sets in when it becomes clear that they haven't really heard what you've been saying and they interpret your needs into their own belief systems. A few times with my illness I've had responses like; it's depression, or; surely it's in my mind - here's some SSRIs, job done. (I've also had a lot of more adequate responses too, so hurray for the NHS there). In reality, they are just trying to help in the best way they can.

Anyway, I'm just trying to illustrate my point. A lot of what people decide to hear is determined before you say anything. Just bear that in mind.


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