You see 👀 what you expect to see 👀

Earlier this month, The Carvalho family went to London 🇬🇧
and Annmarie had the following encounter…In her words…

I often find the first couple of days of any holiday involves a ‘comedown’ from work.

It was in this state that, on our first day here, and while attempting to control our manic, over-excited twins in Trafalgar Square, I had a slightly shirty interaction.

I was trying to corral and channel said twins in the direction of Pret so I could sit down and enjoy my daily respite of staring blankly at my phone 📱 for 5 minutes while distracting them with food 🥘. When little J bumped into someone. I thought the unwitting victim of my boisterous twin said something ars&y to him. I was a bit chippy and abrupt back. She then tried to say something to me which I brushed off.

I wandered off in a slightly stroppy fashion with my brood.

Before doubling back to find her and say sorry for my manner. She took it in good grace and all was resolved.

But it made me think about perceptions. The truth is that, as I say, I was a bit frazzled. l expected her to be irritated by my kids (as I’ve had that experience before). And so that’s what I saw. In fact, it transpired that she wasn’t at all – she was concerned that she had hurt little J and she was asking about him.

We don’t like to admit it because we like to think we view the world in a clear eyed, factual way. But we all view the world through our particular pair of glasses 🤓 .

Those glasses are cloudier on some days – when we’re tired or ill. They may even be a bit cracked in places as our life experiences have coloured how we see the world. Because we project onto other people stuff from our past without realising it. That’s why we often repeat certain patterns in life.

It’s important that we’re aware of these tendencies. And of our ability to co-create these situations ourselves. Rather than tossing our hands up and saying in a Mario Balotelli-esque fashion “why does this always happen to me?”

It comes up at work too. Take the world of law where fixed narratives abound. Once someone has become the enemy it becomes very easy to interpret whatever they do (or don’t do) in a negative light.

That’s particularly so in this age where we have so many new terms to use to express more nuanced behaviour. Gaslighting and narcissism to take just two. Useful in the appropriate context. But, when used to pick holes and see the worst in others whilst avoiding looking at ourselves, they sow seeds of separation not understanding.

Given that law is a profession that prides itself on working with ‘facts’, it’s important to keep looking at our preconceptions of others. And that we as practitioners can model to our clients our ability and willingness to test our assumptions about others rather than taking them as gospel.

Which pair of glasses are you wearing today?!

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