Owning your interpretations

Animals are often territorial, and we take that to mean "aggressive." But if you flip it around, territorial displays by animals (say, a spotted leopard spraying urine on a tree trunk) are actually a way of preventing aggression by indicating ownership (another spotted leopard can pick up the message and choose to avoid the fight by going elsewhere). Human language-users have a problem: our words can seem like we're staking claiming to unassailable "objective" knowledge on an issue. This happens when we don't own our interpretations AS just that, our own interpretations - our own stories.

Actively acknowledge your own fallibility upfront by labeling your interpretations as stories that you’re holding: "I have a story that…";"This story might be mistaken or unfair….". Be prepared to find out that the other person holds a very different story. Normalize differences of perspective by labeling your stories as stories every chance you get; hearing this label quickly sensitizes people to holding this practice as a living norm in a group.