Zoe Weil is a blogger for Psychology Today (PT), and twice a month we share her blog posts here. Enjoy!

My husband Edwin and I periodically visit a remote coastal Maine village. During our last trip, we had a strange experience that caused us to reflect upon how our assumptions, judgments, and personal histories shape our reactions, thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, and even our ability to comprehend reality.

We were taking a stroll to the shore before dinner when we noticed a quirky man walking toward us. He was bundled up on a warm day and moving fast with his head down. About 30 feet away, he caught sight of us and appeared startled. He turned around abruptly, quickened his pace, and walked back the way he came.

Edwin and I exchanged glances and kept walking. We didn’t share what we were each feeling, which was a bit fearful. Only later did Edwin tell me that after encountering the man, he had removed the knife in his pocket, palmed it, and had his thumb positioned to open the blade.

psychology today