Do you like puzzles? I do! Honestly that’s a big part of my job. I puzzle piece together what I hear people say and how they feel to help them understand what is happening. I make meaning of things people don’t naturally see and use it to enhance their understanding and emotional intelligence based on the evidence of what I hear and know about their story and people’s issues in general.
When I make meaning of things for my clients, it’s for a positive in their lives. But there can also be big negatives when people make meaning of something in their life that isn’t correct. This could be having catastrophic thinking, transferring something from the past and making it present, or even making up a story to try to make sense of something without evidence. These could be really dangerous for relationships and create a lot of miscommunication.
A sad, but common result when people make meaning of things without enough evidence:
I have a sad, but sweet kid’s book that is a great example of this called Was it the chocolate pudding? by Sandra Levins. This story is about 2 kids who find out their parents are getting divorced, and they seek answers to their overwhelming questions. One question they are trying to figure out is if it’s their fault their parents are getting divorced. They used chocolate pudding as finger paint on the walls the night before their parents told them about the divorce, and they make meaning of this to be the reason for the divorce.
This is such a painful result of someone making meaning. Their minds tried to complete the puzzle and answer the question why. Naturally they looked at any reason that would make sense, and the disaster of the chocolate pudding must have been the missing piece they were looking for. When people make meaning of something without enough evidence, they tend to bring a big emotional spiral into the situation.
What are the dangers when you make meaning without proof?
My clients will often hear me say, “That may not mean what you think it means.” When you make meaning of something it can have many negative results in your life. Here’s a few:
- You will over-react
- You believe something that is not true
- You will create emotional walls in relationships because of fear of getting hurt
- You may jump to a conclusion about someone that is incorrect and miss out on a relationship
- Your relationships will lack deeper emotional intimacy
- You will easily blame shift onto others and may ignore blind spots in your life
- You will likely feel very upset and hurt
- You will isolate and feel lonely and depressed