Sometimes we hear what we want to hear. And regardless of what another person actually says, we’ve already made up our minds on what we believe they’re really communicating. Humility is needed to allow others to speak for themselves.
We each have our own point of view and unique perspectives in interpreting life. But it’s arrogant to believe our take is the best and only one that matters.
And this is especially true when we assume we know what another is trying to say.
To be sure, we can have our opinions on what others believe. And we might outright disagree with their conclusions on an issue.
But we go too far when we project our feelings onto them.
For instance, if our wife said she enjoyed watching a movie with us, there’s no reason to assume she didn’t. We take her at her word. And it’s likely our insecurities speaking when we doubt her sincerity and assume she is just trying to appease us.
We’re projecting how we feel onto her when this is not what she’s communicating.
This can happen also when someone does something we don’t agree with. It’s tempting to assume we know their motivation because it fits the story we’re already telling ourselves.
But it takes humility to really listen and hear how they tell their own story.
We still might not agree with them. And there might also come a time to point out some of their blind spots. But, in the end, we still respect them enough to speak for themselves.
We miss each other’s heart when we assume we already know what the other is trying to say. And this leads to greater disconnection and conflict.
It’s okay to hold onto your opinions. But allow others to speak for themselves as well.