During my daily walk today (aka my escape from work for 30 minutes and the reason I eat my lunch at my desk while continuing to do work stuff) I was talking with my friend Amy about our perceptions of people.
Have you ever made a judgement, decision or comment about someone and found out later after being enlightened by factual evidence and reality that you were totally off base and ended up feeling like a total ass-hat? I’d be shocked if that hasn’t happened at least once to you… because I like most people and that still happens to me more often than I’d like to admit.
It is really too bad that finding out someone’s true origin, essence, past, history, genetics, struggles, family troubles, etc. is sometimes what it takes to shine a light on something or someone that you had mistakenly labeled a different way.
Let’s say you judge someone as a supreme womanizer and douche canoe, then you find out that in the past they were unfairly and unecessarily ripped apart, tore into pieces, given a salt bath, sewn back together and then fileted again by a she-devil-banshee… would you then understand his lack of appetite for commitment and the “way” he is now? Would you give him the benefit of the doubt?
The point is everyone has a story. Everyone has a history, background, experience. We can be so acutely aware of how we are so shaped by our environment growing up… but forget to make that same exception or consideration for those around us.
I remember at one of my first jobs I asked one of my coworkers how she managed to have such a great attitude all the time when she had to deal with such difficult people… her reply? “Well, I just remember that they could be having a really bad day… and maybe someone else yelled at them earlier”.
I was amazed that she was able to make that mental effort on behalf of someone else… and more importantly keep that at the forefront of her mind so she didn’t react badly to sometimes mean coworkers.
I aspire to keep these thoughts at the forefront of my mind and remember to think kindly of other people… not imagine sporking out my own eye if I have to talk to them again… while it does make me laugh, I think it’s probably negatively affecting my ability to cope with people. Maybe.