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“You spot it, you got it” – or the first rule (of thumb) of psychology

 In Life, Blog, Others

“You spot it, you got it” basically sums up the relationship of us noticing something in someone else (usually something we’re critical about, but not always) and the likelihood of us suffering from the same thing.

An example: I was recently noticing the recrudescence of “mansplaining” – a portmanteau word of “man” and “explaining”, which is used when a man needlessly explains things to a woman, that he assumes she knows nothing about.

And I mentioned it to a friend, that I was getting sick of men trying to explain things to me (me, of all people! LOL) that I quite certainly knew more about than they did.

Only half an hour later, I was explaining to that same friend something he knew already about, and he jokingly told me I was “femme-splaining” – and he was right.

I spotted it in others, and clearly I suffer from it myself.

This rule of thumb comes quite useful in my work. When I listen carefully to my clients, and hear them take exception to something other people, or when they talk about their “pet-hates”, more often than not they just may have that same issue.

It’s a powerful tool for self-analysis. Last time I admitted to myself that I couldn’t stand someone, because he was such a smartypants, I also had to admit that smartypants-ness was definitely something I suffer from too…

The list is pretty endless. Not everything we dislike is also a fault of our own, but it is true often enough to warrant looking at yourself to become aware of a potential blindspot.
And it does go both ways – if you are very generous, or very kind, you are more likely to notice generosity, or kindness, in others. It is about traits that we are familiar with, but not always consciously realising that the reason we notice them is because we have been living with them.

Consider critiquing others like looking into a slightly distorting mirror – you may not be seeing your own face, but you will probably spot some of your own spots 🙂

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