Everyone Has A Reason – Even If You Can’t See It
We live in a world that is pulling us apart yet squeezing the life out of us. Every day is a battle to inch forward – or worse, make up the lost ground of yesterday. Our thoughts are occupied by the need to survive and succeed that we sometimes forget that we don’t operate in isolation. Humans are after all social creatures and within a modern living, all of us are interconnected, one way or another.
Unfortunately, this intrinsic need to survive our daily world inhibits the way we deal with others – we are far too focused on the self that we do not give enough thought to others. The child throwing a tantrum thus becomes labeled as insolent; the man who bulldozes past you is nothing more than an entity out to spoil your day.
But how many times have we been caught off-guard when our snap-judgement turns out to be entirely wrong? The child with the tantrum could be suffering from neglect by his inexperienced teenage parents. Perhaps the man who just bulldozed you is deep in thought about what he is going to do since he was just laid off moments ago. These are all plausible and real situations that can happen to any one of us, yet we do not accord that kind of understanding to those we come across in our daily lives.
We cannot assume to know the background of everyone who brushes past us, but the truth is that we unconsciously treat others as if their background is the same as ours. When someone cuts the queue, we think, “it must be because he’s trying to gain an unfair advantage because there is no other reason I can see”. We fail to realize that “I cannot see why he has to do that” is highly subjective – just because we can’t see something certainly doesn’t mean it cannot exist.
But we apply this perception without fail to the actions of the people around us. We assume the meaning of their actions and worse, conclude the reason for them based on such assumptions. And the tragedy of such mentality is that we become distrustful of others in the long run because the assumed reasons are almost always negative in nature.
If you’re giving meaning, why not a positive spin?
The good news is that turning this negative tone into a positive attitude is easy. All you have to do is provide a positive reason whenever an assumption is made. Was the bus driver rude to you and didn’t acknowledge your greeting this morning? Well, let’s just assume then that he was told at the start of his shift that he would no longer qualify for overtime payments.
Did you realize that this simple act of positive assumption just gave the situation an entirely different aura? You probably feel sorry for this bus driver and likely imagine how difficult it must be for him. And that, my friends, is the powerful effect of giving these assumptions a positive spin. The uncomfortable things that happen in the course of our day (which are largely unavoidable) are effectively prevented from turning the day itself ugly in our eyes (which is completely avoidable).
Some may say that this is just giving others an excuse for their unacceptable behavior, but the positive assumption we give is not to them but to ourselves. It is the reasoning we apply to our experience and thus does nothing to them – only serving to change how we value the situation and not the situation itself. In most instances, such situations are merely fleeting moments that do not have any real repercussions to either party other than the feelings experienced.
Change the World by Changing Yourself
In the long run, this simple realignment of perception will lead to a positive mindset when it comes to dealing with the world around you. If everything that happens has a plausible positive rationale, then there is no longer any reason to develop negative feelings due to an uncomfortable experience.
We will slowly but surely begin to deal with things that happen in an objective manner, instead of dealing with the feelings created through a subjective reaction. And soon, you will realize, the world has become a much better place simply because it looks better in your eyes.