Because we have experienced our interpretations clashing with the interpretations of other people we hold part of ourselves back. We are therefore rarely truly honest about how we feel in the communication of our thoughts, approach and reactions to events. For example. An adult who was abused as a child may hold onto a feeling of pain every day and never tell anyone
We find that if we act in a certain way we can create the results that we want from life (to be praised, to be left alone, to avoid confrontation, etc). Also, if we adopt a certain point of view, based on our model of “how things are”, we can justify to ourselves that we are right (unfortunately that sometimes implies that someone else is wrong). The experiences that confirm our view, and fit into our model, are used to re-enforce our position while the things that contradict our view are often overlooked.
This can give us the feeling that we are in a dominant position (I know I’m right!) but, as everybody feels roughly the same, there is very little real and totally honest communication between people who do not have shared experiences/ background / model. Using a generalisation without a shared reference can cause misunderstandings, resentments and prejudices.
It is difficult to truly understand a person until you have a clear idea of their “model” and how they experienced it.
An example of this was described to me by a respected entrepreneur. “I knew I was intelligent but I decided that it was a particular type of intelligence that other people could not recognize.”
Consequently one of his key behavior traits was enthusiastically explaining things as if he were a teacher! This would often cause consternation and complaints about his arrogance, despite his engaging presentation. He was still trying to prove to people that he was not a “stupid boy” even though he was successful and in his mid fifties.
You will probably have noticed that the most disruptive people have many generalisations. They are able to justify their behavior because they “know” that they are right! They use expressions like: You can’t do that, We should.., We ought to.., I can’t…, That is not possible…, You shouldn’t …
They may be ‘right’ but are they happy? We can have success, or failure, but not fulfillment because we are driven by the feelings of (supposed) failure. Some people may be driven to succeed; wanting the praise success brings, while other people may succeed so they can avoid the criticism that failure brings. Same results – different motivation.