The dress story flooded social media and the news last week. I would see different posts about the dress multiple times a day on my news feed and twitter. The evening news had special segments on it. Some would have fun telling others what they thought the color of the dress was, and others would get frustrated at the fact that this dress became news. Either way, it still had people talking about it.
People continue to see different colors on the dress, despite of learning that the dress is blue and black. Some said that they saw white and gold, blue and black, blue and gold….. Let’s expand this notion to other topics, shall we? What if the discussion was about who is more exhausted between you and your spouse? Or, you argue with your partner about what’s the best way to get your child to stop talking back at you. Or, you get frustrated because your work team does not consider that your idea is the best for the project you are working on. These are very common issues that come up between family members, couples, and in professional environments. When two or more individuals engage in a discussion of what’s the best way to do something or to find the “truth” about something, this may place the individuals in a position of identifying who is right v. wrong. This can create defensiveness, evasiveness, and criticism. Basically, the conversation will more than likely end up in an argument or the lack of a resolution.
When two or more individuals engage in a discussion of what’s the best way to do something or to find the “truth” about something, this may place the individuals in a position of identifying who is right vs. wrong. This can create defensiveness, evasiveness, and criticism. Basically, the conversation will more than likely end up in an argument or the lack of a resolution.
In order to avoid conversations having these results, consider the valuable lesson about the dress: Perception is reality. What if we considered that what one person sees and thinks is their reality? This would make all the answers about the color of the dress correct. Sounds crazy, right?
By accepting everyone’s perception of the color of the dress, no one has to focus on spending energy on who is wrong. This allows to focus on explaining how people can actually get to see different colors for the same thing: It leaves room for conversation on how the situation makes sense and the possibility of others to understand one’s perception. For example: Maybe it was the lighting in the photo, or maybe the photo had a filter on it. Similarly, in relationships, this opens up the space for curiosity and respect. Curiosity and respect are the antidote for arguments plagued by defensiveness, evasiveness, and criticism. For example:
- Instead of focusing on who is more exhausted, both you and your spouse can agree that you are both exhausted, and by acknowledging each others reality it may lead to making a compromise on who will take care of the baby tonight.
- Instead of arguing with your partner about the best way to get your child to stop talking back, you become curious about each other's views on the topic and find a compromise on how to parent your child.
- Instead of approaching your work team with your ideas as the best one for the project, you first become open to learn how each team member thinks their idea is better than yours.
Perception is created by many factors: education, beliefs, values, and so much more. Consider the options of when discussing the colors of this one dress, as a small example of the many views and opinions that are created in more complex situations. Being able to see the reality of another person is the core of having healthy and long lasting relationships, as it makes the other person feel respected and understood. Who would have thought that a picture of a dress could have so much meaning?
To Your Success!
Your Therapy Friend,
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining. Read more about her at: www.infinitetherapeuticservices.com and follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/infinitetherapy/