Could you please change your glasses ?

No, I’m not going to talk about seeing an optomotrist. I’m talking about the way we tend to see people – what they do, say – through our particular set of glasses, namely our preconceived notions. We tend to confine people to what we have experienced of them in the past, often attributing incorrect intentions in our « reading » of the other :  « He never takes the initiative because he doesn’t care… .» « She’s always speaking for me because she thinks she knows better … . »

We condemn the person to thinking, behaving as he/she once did. In other words, we have decided that the other is incapable of change.

How would I feel if someone applied that criteria to me ? Undoubtably, I would be hurt and perhaps even outraged.

An example from couples therapy

Nat was convinced that Maya was trying to push him out of the picture as Billy’s dad. Indeed, it had been the case when Maya was going through a post partum depression but even now, 18 months down the line, he was still holding that up to her face. For Maya, the situation had truly evolved ; for Nat, very little had changed.

In therapy, Nat was able to describe his pain and  bewilderment facing what for him, was inexplicable behavior. He admitted his own impatience before what he perceived as willfull immobility.  Maya was finally able to share with him the inner nightmare of going through  post-partum depression.  She was able to look him straight in the eyes and say what a wonderful dad he is.  Maya recognized her own need to be in control and its impact on Nat feeling excluded. Today, Billy and Daddy have more alone time together and Maya frequently solicites Nat’s opinions. To reinforce Nat’s evolving viewpoint, he journals his new observations.

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