Wednesday, April 23, 2014
How many times in life you've been hurt by someone you trust or someone close to you? It's hard when we don't understand someone's actions: apparently contradictory or over the top angry, distant, aggressive, hurtful, etc. Makes you think whether you have really known someone. Many times our reaction will mirror what we receive, things escalate quickly and over time we eventually disconnect. What you do and how you react in those situations can determine the outcome of a marriage, friendship, working relationship, relationship with our children, etc.
I don't remember how it all started but today I consciously choose to believe people are good. I do that as far as I can remember. I'm always trying to understand the reason why someone is behaving in a certain way that seem incompatible with a situation or my expectation. I tend to believe there is always something else going on that while may not justify the behavior will at least explain it.
I have a great friend who for a period of time seemed distant and uninterested in cultivating our relationship. In the beginning I thought giving space to my ego: "I'm not calling him anymore. If he's interested in the relationship he has to initiate the contact going forward. It can't be always me. I have other things to do and can't afford to invest that much time in an unilateral relationship". Eventually I paused and chose to take a simple step: ask. I insisted a few more times and then explained how I was feeling. I asked what was the reason he was behaving that way. I found out he was having serious family problems.
Most of the times we don't want to ask because we think it's all about us. Many times we believe we are the center of the universe and it's all about us. We should not go the extra step, it's the other person's turn. That way we miss opportunities to keep relationships and sometimes even help other people.
I've been in the opposite side, where I was the one behaving in ways my friends, or spouse would not understand: "what is wrong with you?" some would ask. That's when I also found out many times people don't have it clear. They don't know they are behaving in a certain way and when asked they don't know why they are doing it. There are many things that affect the way we react in a given moment that sometimes we can't even connect the dots. How many times I reacted in exact opposing ways to the same situation. An easy example is my relationship with my kids. There are times they will do something that will really tick me off. I get angry and sometimes end up regretting the way I reacted. Another time they do the exact same thing and I react like a Tibetan monk: master of patience and wisdom. Why?
Every time I have composure to stop and think through my reaction I end up being able to trace the cause. I'm running late to do something, or hungry, or it's something that is unresolved at work I didn't consciously realized was still in the back of my mind, etc. Yes, we are not perfect. If we don't give a second chance to each other imperfections it's difficult if not impossible to build and maintain relationships.
That's why I choose to believe people are good and there is something that can clearly justify a behavior we can't immediately understand. Making assumptions is a very dangerous approach. Our assumptions can be far from reality. It's easy to make assumptions than spend the time talking, after all we are sometimes hurt or irritated by someone's behavior. However, in many occasions it's worth it. Take the time. There may be cases where it is how it feels. Not always it will work out. However, it's better to be certain than lose someone you love.
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Vinicius da Costa has almost 46 years of experience in life ;-), teaches at and helps building Synergy Yoga & Wellness into a place you feel good and welcomed to grow your yoga journey.