Fox Face: Facts, Feelings, Meaning

Every human experience consists of three vital parts:

  1. The facts of what happened (what we saw, heard, observed, etc)
  2. The feelings that evoked (excitement, anger, joy, fear, etc)
  3. The meaning we ascribed to it (highly influenced by our history, mood, perspective, etc)

Sometimes we notice our feelings first — and they influence our meaning making. Other times meaning comes to us first, and it ignites some feelings. The most important thing in this equation is to recognize that both the feelings we have, and meaning we ascribe to any given experience are subjective (aka: do not necessarily represent the truth of what is!

This is why we practice being curious — not only about other people’s interpretations of events and experiences — but about our own as well.

I’ll give you an example so you can see it for yourself:

You are staying in a hotel in a new area for a few days, and decide to take a brisk walk before you head to bed.  Somehow, you got turned around, and find yourself in an unfamiliar area. You start to feel a bit nervous, but you have your phone on you, so you take it out, and begin to map your way back to your hotel.  Just then you see a large man hurrying towards you. He is dressed in dark clothes, and is looking from side to side — as if he is trying to gauge if there is anyone else around. 

Facts: large man, dressed in dar clothing, hurrying towards you
Feelings: fear, anxiety
Meaning-making: he means me harm

Facts: large man, dressed in dar clothing, hurrying towards you
Feelings: curiosity, calm
Meaning-making: he must be in a hurry to get somewhere

Either interpretation is possible… and there are probably a dozen other possible scenarios too… but you would need to wait until this person either passes, or connects with you, in order to know for certain. 

Try making your own Facts – Feelings – Meaning map…for this scenario, or one of your own!

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