“Mommy, what’s asshole?”
Or at least that’s what my mom’s friend thought she heard her three-year-old ask. Believing that age-appropropriate honesty is the best policy, she replied with a brief description of the literal meaning followed by the fact that it’s used in a derogatory way. “You shouldn’t call people that,” she finished up, feeling satisfied with her response.
“Oh,” her son replied, looking puzzled. “Johnny said it was the stuff they put on the road.”
We hear what we expect to hear.
We see what we expect to see.
We reach conclusions before the end and we compose responses before we listen.
But you can change your approach. As with anything, practice makes better.
So, today, practice being curious.
See with your eyes rather than your assumptions.
Listen with your ears rather than your judgements.
Practice being comfortable with unfinished stories and responses unsaid.
And be ready to be surprised.
Things are often not as we perceive them to be.