On our road trip home to Chicago last month, I put on my Spotify playlist I call “Fun and Dance.” I was driving and ready for a little pick-me-up—in our family, the driver has dibs on music. I cranked up the tunes and sang along. Peter turned the volume down and complained about my music. My mind started going.
Finally, I said, “I’m making up the story that you don’t like it when I’m happy.” (Yep, quite a leap, but that’s how my mind works sometimes.) Peter immediately felt bad, apologized, told me he was cranky because he was hungry.
This is the problem with interpretations. We all make them, and often they are totally off. What’s the remedy? Recognize when you might be jumping to a conclusion and check it out with the other party. And I love this way to do it: “I’m making up the story that…” It’s honest and vulnerable—and invites a compassionate response.
YOUR TURN: What possibly unfounded interpretations are YOU making in your communications? Try saying “I’m making up the story that…” and tell me how it goes!