We have a tendency to find the bits in things that we want to hear. It happens when reading stories that we have strong beliefs about, politics, or people we admire. We find the pieces that suit our preconceived notions and ignore everything else. The same happens on a personal level with each other. When we're listening to someone, we find what we want to hear and disregard the rest.
This leads to miscommunication and surprised feelings when confronted with the things we ignored. But it also feels like a half-remembered dream. The pieces were there all along you just didn't pay attention.
This seems to be a natural result of our emotions. Just as strong political affiliations can lead us to look past the faults of our parties. Emotions can make us focus on only what we want to hear. You can focus on the positives in what someone says while ignoring the negatives. Or depression and anxiety can make you focus on the negatives. It's difficult to assess what someone says without being influenced by your own beliefs and experiences.
Is this just an aspect of the human condition? Something we're cursed to struggle with? Or can we work on it and get better?