A while ago, I was in a meeting when someone made a statement in my general direction that bordered on slight insensitivity.
After the meeting, I spent some time analyzing the statement.
“Is this what the fellow thought of me?”
“Or was it just a moment of miscommunication?”
“But it seemed rather directed at me, the way he said it.”
“Perhaps he didn’t mean it that way.”
The more I thought of it, the more difficult it was not to roped into feelings of hurt or resentment. I turned it over and over. Until I stopped, and I CHOSE the interpretation that best served me. I decided that I didn’t care what the fellow meant or did not mean. I would rather choose the interpretation that retains the arrow in MY quiver. And immediately I did that, I was rid of ill-feeling and I knew what exactly I wanted to do.
Here’s the thing.
The lens through which we interpret the world is a film built by the sum-total of our perceptions, beliefs, INSECURITIES, current mood, formal and/or informal education, experiences, etc.
Now, this has dual implication.
First, what people say to you often has more to do with themselves than with you, unless it is a statement of fact, or a conclusion made from data, and even those can be subjective.
Similarly, what you hear has more to do with your film than what was actually said.
And do you know?
You get to choose!
The power lies with each of us to make inferences that are in our best interests.
- It is in your best interest to be rid of hurts, anger, bitterness or grudge.
- It is in your best interest to believe the best about yourself, regardless of what phase of your journey you are presently in.
- It is in your best interest to have a clear vision of where you are going, and a general idea of how to get there.
- It is in your best interest to believe that your best is yet to come, and better days are just ahead.
- It is in your best interest to live free of regrets over your past.
Trust me, these are NOT mere cliches. They are truths we must completely believe in order to win the battles of the mind.
Bible Story Time
I can provide two instances from the Bible when a remarkable man and a resilient woman filtered what was said to them, and drove the narrative of how the story would end.
One day, Jesus was busy minding his business when a bunch of conniving Pharisees and Sadducees came to “test” him. They asked him to show a sign from heaven. As if he needed to prove his authority to anyone.
I imagine them saying to Jesus with a sneer; “You say you are a Messiah, yea? Why don’t you show us a demonstration from the skies?”
Then Jesus goes, “You are good at reading the weather signs of the skies… but you can’t read the obvious signs of the times!”
He said that, and walked out on them.
What a well-deserved, thought-provoking and empowered response!
Read that wonderful story in Matthew 16:1-4.
There’s an interesting story in the Bible about a young woman who was persistently handed the wrong card by her experiences and the people in her life, and how she CHOSE to follow the path that empowers her. Her name was Tamar, and the story is in Genesis 38. If you read it from the AMP translation, it flows like a bestselling novel.
Tamar married Judah’s 1st son – Er, who unfortunately died before they could conceive any children.
Now, as per the culture of their community at the time, Judah told his 2nd son Onan that he could take Tamar as wife, and help her conceive children to continue Tamar & Er’s lineage. Onan agreed to the deal but he was deceptive, because he decided to enjoy the first part of the deal, without fulfilling his obligation to the second part. He slept with Tamar, but intentionally withheld giving her seed to conceive her babies.
Anyway, Onan died as well.
Judah said to Tamar that he would give her his third and last son who was slightly young and required to grow up some, before Tamar could take him as husband but the Bible gave us the inside scoop that Judah didn’t plan to follow through on giving Shelah to Tamar as husband because he was afraid that the son would die like his first 2 sons did. He planned on deceiving her as well.
But Tamar chose the interpretation that empowered her.
I imagine her thinking and praying, “Lord, my circumstances haven’t been the most fortunate, but I really want to have my babies.”
And the way the rest of the story unfolded, from how Tamar sought out her father-in-law, to the actions she took to safe-guard herself in a society that was unjust and unduly unfair, it was obvious that God had her back and she eventually had not one but two very healthy and competent (coughs, competitive ) kids.
Benefits of Choosing Your Interpretation
- It empowers you to take actions that are within your sphere of control.
- It breaks the hold of limiting beliefs and self-doubt.
- It empowers you to forgive the other fellow, if required.
When you choose, you keep the peace, empower yourself and protect your legacy.
When you choose, you keep the peace, empower yourself and protect your legacy.Tweet