Example: My neighbor is trying to screw me over. So and so wants my job. My sister is up to her old tricks. This guy is a selfish jerk.
When we think this way, we get angry. It’s hard not to. Which is why – from experience – we all should learn to resist. Instead, we could try to go through life like a public defender. I often think to myself, if I was a lawyer I’d need to learn to plead the case of the absent defendant despite my own interests. That is, really take the time to think about what is motivating other people. Take the time to act as if we are trying to help them escape punishment from the judge and jury that is the emotional and vindictive part of our mind, (Oh, he really just wants what’s best for everyone. My brother doesn’t know better. This guy didn’t mean to bump into me – he’s just having a hard day). Don’t just fight to see the worst, fight to see their side.
When we do this, when we give people the benefit of the doubt – the presumption of innocence instead of the presumption of guilt and ill-motives – everything relaxes. We can forgive. We can find common ground. I/we can focus on what is actually important… our own behaviour.
Today try giving someone the-benefit-of-the-doubt.
By Brian Nadon