What is your brain hiding from you?

June 13, 2012

in Communication, Seeing Clearly

Lying brain © http://memegenerator.net

I was discussing weight loss with a friend who is also working to become less than he is. He commented he thinks he has the opposite of anorexia; he knows he has a good bit of weight to lose, but when he looks in the mirror, he does not see it.

It is interesting, in a rather disturbing way, that our brain can distort what we see when we look at ourselves. If our minds can fool us about how our bodies look, something we should be able to confirm or deny by looking in the mirror, how much more can it fool us about thoughts, feelings, and actions?

You think you have been kind and loving to your bride today – but your mind might be hiding things from you. She thinks she was respectful to you when you were out together, but her mind might be distorting things. When the two of you perceive something differently, it’s possible you are both wrong!

Anyone who works with couples quickly learns there are three versions of any interaction between a husband and wife; his version, her version, and what really happened. Which spouse is closer to reality can be difficult (or impossible) to determine. Additionally our brains distort some things more than others, so sometimes he is close to reality while she is not in the same zip code, while other times she is close and he misses it big time. We all have areas where we are reality challenged.

The best thing you can do is accept the fact your brain distorts things, and you cannot see the distortion because the mind you use to judge it is the mind causing the distortion. Accept that sometimes you are closer to reality, and sometimes you bride is closer, and there is no way you can know, much less prove, you are right and she is whacked! Even a third party may not be much help if they must rely on one or both of you relaying your perception. It is sometimes helpful to describe an event as simply as possible to a friend; if you can keep your perspective out of it, they may see something you do not.

To work on such things as a couple, ask your bride to describe what she thinks is going on, and do the same from your perspective. This will show you the difference, but it does not help you know if either of you is close to reality. On-going discussion and trying to see things as your spouse sees them will help. Even if you don’t see it as she does, if you can learn to know how she will see certain things, you can work to avoid bad situations. Find different ways to do and express things. Look for ways of speaking and acting the two of you perceive closer to the same way. This is far more helpful, and far less aggravating, than endlessly arguing about who has a monopoly on reality.

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