Post # 1
In the spirit of the holidays, I would like to offer a tip that has made my life infinitely easier: don’t assume that people are intending to be rude or hurtful unless you KNOW otherwise.
Whether it’s inlaws not calling you directly, a Maid/Matron of Honor who isn’t being helpful, or someone showing up in a white dress on your wedding day, your life will be so much easier and happier if your default assumption is that they’re not doing it on purpose. It’s hard to go through life constantly on the lookout for slights. It’s so much easier if your default position is “Oh, they were probably just busy;” “maybe their family doesn’t operate like mine;” “they didn’t know the etiquette and it’s a warm summer afternoon, so a white dress probably just seemed natural.” Etc.
Now it’s true that sometimes people ARE being deliberately rude or hurtful. In that case, it usually becomes a pattern, demonstrated through other words and actions as well. Then it’s time to either talk with them or decide to let that relationship fade. But in many cases where people get hurt feelings, it could be avoided by A) giving the other party the benefit of the doubt and B) opening up the lines of communication.
Be understanding and generous of spirit, and life becomes much happier for everyone.
Post # 3
And I would like to add. There are two sides to every story, and then there is the truth. Perceptions are biased and people REACT, so if you think someone has slighted you, or doesnt like you, or is being rude, they may infact be reacting to something you did or said that they perceived to be rude or hurtful, even if you didnt mean it that way. Or maybe they have a different perception of the situation than you do… which goes back to the OP- dont assume people are doing something purposely.
“Pat wanted to steal it, but was afraid that the man with the mask would try to keep him away from home”
We all naturally have a first assumption… but we dont have to keep it. That above sentence could be about the boogy man, a thief, a super hero or a baseball base-runner. Take time to check your initial assumptions. They may be wrong or misleading and others could be reacting to them.
Post # 5
Definately good pieces of advice to always remember 🙂
Post # 6
Haha @lefeymw when I read your quote I thought hmmm that is a little ambiguous, then I went back to re-read it to try to get more clarity, then concluded that the statement could be read multiple ways and I would need more data….then I read the rest of your post! I feel a little good I didn’t jump to a conclusion that it was about baseball or the boogeyman =)
and mightywombat, great advice that I will take to heart and I think I definitely need to practice!!
Post # 7
A great reminder, mightywombat. “Words of affirmation” are my love language and I always find things people say going straight to my heart – good or bad.
Another way I’ve heard it expressed is “Don’t tell stories about people.” Sometimes I know I can take things people say and weave a whole (fictitious) tale around it, and then it takes on the status of truth in my head, when it’s really just a matter of interpretation.
Thanks for the words of wisdom 🙂
Post # 8
@mightywombat: All so true. This can be applied in so many situations in life. I think sometimes its hard to remember not to take something personally…but it really can make a difference!
Post # 10
I have a device along the same lines that has made my life so much easier:
“No one can read your mind”
If you want something, if you expect or need someone to do something, if you are hurt, happy, excited, angry – you need to actually say so and make it clear to your surroundings. And it’s not enough to hint, you may think you’re being obvious but that may not be so to other people, you need to spell it out.
So, reminding myself that very few people in this world are mind readers makes it a lot easier to accept when someone turns up dressed in jeans or forgets to return a call or does the opposite of what I wanted. You really can’t expect people to behave the way you want them to!
Post # 11
@mightywombat – Thanks for the life lesson!
@lefeymw – Love that quote! May I borrow it to work on perception (and using context) with my students?