This image has popped up on my social media many times over the past few years. I always relate to it, but I find myself wanting to say more on this topic this morning.
I have learned that it is vital to consider the other person’s point of view. And I don’t just mean on big things. When someone says or does something that you feel is a personal attack, stop and think about their “why”. Did they intend it to be taken the way you’ve chosen to own it? Is their behavior stemming from a deeper issue that really has nothing to do with you? Have you given them the benefit of the doubt before you assume the worst?
I have found this to be a valuable lesson as a teacher, as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend… You get the point. Your (false?) assumptions can make a mess of a relationship really fast.
I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who purposely do hurtful things. What I am saying is be sure you’re actually under attack before you go on the defense. Believe the best. Look outside of yourself. Try to understand what’s going on in the bigger picture. I think the more we endeavor to understand each other, the closer we become. And that sure beats being torn apart.
And what if you do see things differently? Are you willing to state your opinion and out of understanding and love “agree to disagree”? If we were all the same, life would be really boring. Why lose the chance to connect with people who are different than you? What if they can help you grow? We can love each other in our differences. We just have to be willing. We can allow someone to have an opinion that differs from our own…and it be okay.
Let me add, that I am not speaking of condoning dangerous or unhealthy behaviors. I just want to encourage you to be open-minded and understanding with those you choose as your tribe. I have always been told to choose friends wisely because you become who you surround yourself with. I do agree with this, but I also think we have to be careful not to limit our circle to people who are just like us.