Why interpretation matters so much

Do you remember the meme online a few years ago about the blue or yellow dress? I’m pretty sure I saw it as blue and couldn’t understand how others saw it as yellow. It showed the subjective nature of our perception. What people often don’t understand is that this perceptual subjectivity also exists when it comes to how we think.

We interpret whatever happens through a filter of our beliefs, lessons learned, emotions and even whatever has happened just before the event. Our brain tries to figure things out but doesn’t always distinguish between relevant and irrelevant factors in doing so.

Why does this matter? Simple. When you distort your interpretation then your experience of the world moves further away from reality. To an extent, our perception and interpretations are never accurate although some are more representative and more useful models than others.

The key idea in this is to start to question how you feel or what you think as being the ‘truth’ and understand it is a simple case of conjecture from a whole host of relevant and irrelevant elements. Once you do that, the next stage is to identify which factors are worth considering and which elements are factual or close to reality.

This way, you get to build a more useful model or representation of what’s happening which can empower you to make better choices accordingly. You can start to transform your relationship with what happens to you and lessen the chance that you automatically react to your circumstances in a triggered way.

If a dress can seem blue or yellow to different people, an event can seem good or bad to others. Something can seem different depending on how we are feeling at the time and what we are dealing with or where our attention is. Understanding this is the key to more mental control.

Lastly, to get the latest and greatest on fascinating psychological topics and how they can help you to change your mind and believe better, join my newsletter – check out the INNER PROPAGANDA banner at owenfitzpatrick.com.



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