When perspective hinders listening


I have been having several experiences this year which have led me to learn about the subject of perception.  These experiences brought the words “perception is not always reality” to my mind over and over again.

Perception is not always reality.

A person observes the actions of another, interprets what they believe are the other person’s intentions, and then their interpretations are transformed from opinions to those of facts.  The observer actually comes to believe that they know the thoughts behind the other person’s actions.  There are times when the observer is correct.   However there are also times when they are incorrect, especially when the perception is clouded by barriers.


Barriers to having true and correct perception:

  • Emotions of the observer, due to struggles and problems in their lives

  • Insecurities/fears of the observer which cloud their views

  • Negative thoughts/feelings the observer has about the other person

  • Being too quick to take words personally which are not meant about you


When a person has misconceptions about another person, and does not communicate with them,  those misconceptions are left to evolve and grow.  Feelings such as hurt, anger, frustration, fear, etc are left to be cultivated.  Division between the two people develops.  The observer has accepted the misconceptions they developed, and the relationship is affected.

Marriages, dating relationships, parents/children, siblings,  friendships, co-workers, and any other relationships can be affected by these misconceptions.

What can you do?  When you feel hurt or wronged by another person in any kind of way, first stop and truly process the situation.  Do you have a clear and open mind to what you are hearing/seeing from the other person?   If your perception of that person is different from who you have known them to be, is it possible that you are being hindered from clear “vision” by a barrier?  Are you truly seeing/hearing clearly?  Are fears or insecurities in the way?  Could you be taking something personally that is not actually personal to you?  Misunderstandings?  Misinterpretation of the words/actions? Are you being objective?

There are more than enough legitimate problems that relationships can encounter.  Why add problems that are not even real?  Why let fears, insecurities, and other barriers transform another person’s words/actions into problems that never actually existed?

The answer?  Communication!  We need to talk with each other.  Misconceptions only have as much power as we give to them.  We need to deflate what comes from misinterpreting the words/actions of another person, by talking it out with them.  Clear the barriers.  Truly listen freely.


  • Alysia Danielle Osorio

    I love this Mary, it is very well said.