October 6, 2012
A young friend writes a blog from college, and I love her fresh perspective. Her last blog was about reducing judgements and increasing appreciation of others.
She reminded me that most of us are doing the best we can to navigate a very complex and confusing world with grace and integrity.
Yes, we fall down, forget, relapse, over or under-react, snap, snipe, gossip, nag…you name it, we do it. And if my radar is set to find those behaviors, of course I’ll see them everywhere, because we’re only human, right?
My friend has discovered one of the keys to a rich life: when her radar is turned to noticing what’s right about people, she literally sees things that were invisible before.
It’s so very easy to judge someone and find them wanting when we haven’t walked in their shoes. “I think you should…” or “If it were me, I’d…’ are probably the most famous, unhelpful words ever uttered. The truth is if it were me I can’t imagine what I’d do in your situation and often have the thought I hope I’d do half as well as you have!
If it’s true that what we put our attention on grows I like the idea of putting mine on people’s intentions. I think there’s a basic goodness that we human beings share, in spite of our sometimes clumsy and awkward external behaviors. Of course we can always find exceptions. If we look for them, we’ll find more than one. That’s not how I want to spend my time.
Because of my work I’m in a unique position to see the effort and desire and longings behind people’s behaviors. And what I see is that regardless of how the behaviors look on the surface we all seem to want pretty much the same things. We want a sense of safety, to love and be loved, and to know that we’re making some kind of meaningful contribution to the world, that it matters that we’re here.
Setting an intention to look for what’s right about people can be a powerful tool in providing new direction to a mind that often drags us around by the nose and notices what’s wrong, not what’s right.
My intention for today is to give everyone who crosses my path the benefit of the doubt. To remember that we’re all, including myself, doing the best we can with what we know. That most of us are trying to navigate this life with dignity and integrity, although sometimes it’s hard to see the integrity from the outside looking in. So my intention is to see you from the inside out.
Thanks so much for spending time with me. Please share your thoughts with our other readers.