The class I taught on Saturday reminded me of something–how interesting it can be to trace my impressions back to what caused them. I find a room pleasant? What exactly gave me that impression? I don’t entirely trust someone? Again, where does that impression come from?
It’s especially important in the intercultural field (the subject I was teaching) because many of our reactions are culture-bound. I think someone is trying to intimidate me because he is standing too close? It could be that he comes from a culture with a smaller “space bubble” and I need to factor that into my interpretation. Awareness of one’s reaction followed by a curious examination of the triggers are an indispensable part of better understanding in a situation like that.
The funniest, most concise example I have found of this dynamic is this (seen on Facebook):
Now, I wonder why they’re thinking what they’re thinking. 😉