One of my phavorite phrases is “that is one possible interpretation.”
I was taught this phrase many, many moons ago and it has proved to be a very helpful saying.
For example, let’s say you see someone with chipped nail polish. You might think, “Wow, she doesn’t care enough to keep her nails manicured.” You might think, “Guess she’s been really worried about something.” You might think, “Yikes, that is a really unflattering color on her, no wonder she’s been chipping at it all day.” Or you might think, “Gosh, the fact that she managed to get showered and dressed today given that she has three children under three years old is pretty impressive.” Then again, you might think, “Are you kidding me, Mom? You have nail polish remover on the counter. Find a cotton ball and get busy.”
See how many interpretations there are? And it’s not limited to nail polish.
Have you ever gotten really angry at someone? To the point where no matter what they say, you take offense?
“I can’t believe she texted ‘Good morning’ to me. That was the most condescending message I’ve ever gotten. I knew she was still angry about lending me her shirt. She didn’t even ask how I am today. Geesh! Who does she think she is anyway?! Next thing you know she’ll be calling the police!”
Note: How anyone can interpret all that from a text of ‘Good morning’ is beyond me. But I’ve seen it happen.
Next time you find yourself reacting, ask yourself: is this the only meaning or just one possible interpretation?