6 Rules for Dealing with Misconceptions
Most people see what is, and never see what can be. --Albert Einstein
We've all dealt with the situation. The one where someone experienced us in one moment of time or we had one conversation, or it's been 10 years and we're still being held to one thing we said.
It can be difficult to navigate the torrential waters of misconception. No one LIKES to be misunderstood. After all, the first law of relationships is to seek first to understand, then to be understood. But we don't, often.
So, how do you deal with misconceptions, either about who you are based on one conversation or thing you said, one segment of your life in time, or one decision?
Fortunately for you, I've had to deal with this in many different respects and I have some knowledge to share regarding it. These are by no means end-all, be-all, holy grail wisdoms. They are just from direct experience and they work.
Rule #1 - Own It
This is pretty self-explanatory. If you said it, admit it. If you did it, own it. If you honestly don't remember, then say you don't remember. However, this doesn't mean you have to go running through the streets with a big banner that's red that reads, "I did it!" No. Just because you may have committed an action or said something you didn't mean does not mean you have to proclaim it to the nations. But do be honest about whatever it is.
Rule #2 - Be Open
This is an important one. We have to learn to be approachable and open to discussing the matter(s). This very much depends on the situation. You may need to be more proactive than reactive and vice versa. If you truly have tried to reach out to fix a misconception, but you know your efforts were accepted about as well as war, then there's nothing else you can do. But remain open to the conversation. Sometimes it can take people a very long time to say what they need and should be saying.
Rule #3 - Know Your Truth
Knowing your truth involves really, authentically knowing who you are and what you are about. Usually, a person with a misconception about you or who has formed a perception about you, based on one or a few instances, doesn't really know the totality of your truth. Let me bust a small myth here. Yes, how people experience you is, in that moment, undeniably, truthful.
However, just like I can't read one chapter out of a book and write an entire book review, I can't experience someone in part, and perceive them in full.
Rule #4 - Have a progression session
I love this rule. And what it begs of us is to remember that, for someone to truly perceive us, they have to make the progression with us. If someone experiences you in one setting, one time, on one day, in one mood, that is not justice for forming a perception about who you are, other than in that moment.
If a person doesn't make progression with you, there's only partial truth present. Maybe you've experienced this like I have. Maybe you had a conversation you remember and go "eek! That was so immature of me." Or maybe you did something you regret every day and think, "I wish I would have done that differently, but I can't change it now - all I can do is move forward." Both of these statements are a part of life. And unfortunately, you have two kinds of people in the world. One will realize this is part of life and throw out the misconceptions in favor of making the progression with you. The other will hold you to it for the rest of your life.
Have a progression session. Review who has the opinion and run it through this filter.
Rule #5 - Move forward
This is not the same as a progression session. This literally means what it says - move forward with your life, your decisions, and the truth you've identified. Don't sit in someone's misconception(s) of you, or it will eat you alive. You've owned it, you're remaining open to talking about it, you know your truth(s) and you realize that this person has obviously not progressed with you, so move on. None of us are, at 30, what we were at 20. None of us are, at 45, who we were at 25. And the few people who are, probably struggle with this rule.
Rule #6 - Higher level of awareness
As you do move forward, engage with a higher level of consciousness. How will you handle these types of conversations going forward, which perhaps caused misconceptions of you in the past? Was that truly how you felt then, but now you know you've grown? These are the questions you can ask when you participate in rule #3. If you acted in anger, how can you process that anger now? As you've progressed in time, how have you grown or evolved?
I would say too, don't just recognize them. Acknowledge those progressions. Plan for creating new perceptions.
Most of all, remember that unless someone has made progression with you, they are basing what they know of you off of one moment in time. This could be positive or negative, but if it's negative, go through the rules to see what deserves your time and energy.