Hate is a big problem. From wars to hate-crimes to bullying to self-loathing, it’s everywhere. And the biggest problem is that people seem to hate for absolutely no good reason. Or, at least, for a reason that seemed valid when the hatred started, but makes absolutely no sense anymore. Hate, anger, and grudges take up way too much energy. Life is too precious to waste your time and energy thinking about negative feelings towards people or events (especially about yourself). I won’t act like I’ve never had bad thoughts or anger toward anyone, because I totally have. But over the past year I’ve gotten really good at letting go of it all and just enjoying life. I have one simple idea that helps me let go of negative feelings and improve all my relationships instantly:
Always assume the best in people
Doesn’t sound very ground-breaking, does it? But I promise it works. Every time I feel myself getting angry about someone or something, I just assume that whatever happened to make me mad, the person who caused it didn’t do it intentionally. I assume that it was an accident, or that they didn’t realize the repercussions their actions could have. I’ve made it a habit to always try to look for the possible good in any person or situation, and it has made a huge difference.
Now, a big part of assuming the best in people is recognizing that not everyone is like you. Not everyone thinks like you, sees the world as you do, or even has the same priorities as you. I’ll share more about this on another day, but as soon as I started accepting that my way of seeing the world and moving through my life wasn’t the best way (and certainly not the only way), I started being able to understand that most people have good intentions, even if it doesn’t always seem like it.
Take one of my old roommates for example. There was a running joke in our apartment about how he took forever to get ready or leave the apartment if we were trying to get somewhere. He would always have last minute things, or say that he had to finish something before we went, and we always were waiting on him before we could leave. It started making me really upset because we were always waiting on him. It seemed like he was doing it on purpose just so that he could make everyone wait for him, like it was some desperate plea for attention.
Then I came across a system called Energy Profiling. I’ll talk more about it in another post, but essentially it is understanding the different ways people move through life and their thought patterns. As I studied, I realized that my friend was just the kind of person who has a slow, methodical and deliberate way of moving through life, and that him taking forever to be ready to leave wasn’t him being obnoxious, it was just the best way he knew to move through life. For him, his slow and deliberate pace wasn’t a weakness, it was just how he moved through life to feel like he was staying organized and accomplished.
So the lesson is this: always assume the best in people. If someone does something that irks you or you don’t understand or that you think is really dumb, just take a step back, and try to see why they might be doing it. Most people aren’t motivated purely by bothering other people. They probably have a perfectly good reason for behaving the way they do. As soon as you accept that and assume the best in people, you’ll find that your relationships with everyone around you instantly improves.