Recently we were in a restaurant, waiting for our food while a nearby table had already been given their food and one of the guests had their order incorrect. You would think it was the end of the world with the scene that took place. This man chewed out the waitress and spit her out. Everyone around him sat in that awkward silence. You knew what everyone was thinking, “how could he be so rude?!”. The waitress walked away and shortly came out with the correct meal and alas all was well. The dining room returned to that normal level of chatter as everyone went on with their night out.
How many times does something like this happen? I’m sure that we can all recall a similar situation. It’s an epidemic.
America, home of the pessimistic society. Most Americans find it all too easy to focus on the negative, to expect the negative and to believe the worst of people. Most of us sat there thinking he was a total jerk face. All of us willing to admit it. I would probably put money on the waitress going back to the kitchen spewing about this guy to her coworkers. Or maybe she snapped on a coworker in return because she was so upset. It’s a never ending cycle.
Husband late from work? He must not care about the family.
Boss doesn’t give you a raise? He must be a jerk.
Your friend doesn’t call you back? She must not be as invested in the friendship as you are.
The pastor doesn’t shake your hand? He must not like you.
The cashier is moving as slow as a sloth? He must be the laziest person on the planet.
It is so easy to fall into this pattern of thinking. Our culture makes it way too easy. We are all about ourselves and that makes it hard to believe the best of people, it’s hard to believe that they are doing the best that they can.
While some people are more naturally prone to being optimistic, it doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t train our thought patterns to becoming more positive as well. We don’t need to go through life thinking everyone isn’t doing that they can. But how can we make that mental shift?
Believing the best of people is generally the hardest part of being more optimistic in life. It is easy to think that all the people on welfare are just living off the government and not trying their best to get off of assistance or that they are simply trying to make ends meet and need the extra help. While there are some who abuse the system it doesn’t mean that everyone is doing the same and what does it cost you to believe the best of people?
We are so quick to judge. We are so quick to believe that others being rude to us is their problem and that they’re just a nasty person, isn’t it? We don’t pause long enough to consider what might be going on in their life to cause them to snap at you or treat you poorly.
How many of us find this to be true in our own homes? If you aren’t on good terms with your spouse, who get’s the brunt of your frustration and anger? Your kids do. You snap at them, you are less patient and graceful with their behavior.
What about if you are going through a scary situation in your personal life, you tend to have fried nerves and lash out easier.
Or maybe you tried nursing and couldn’t produce enough milk, so you had to throw in the towel. You tried your best, tried every remedy on the market to try and boost your supply but with no luck. Yet you feel judged by other breastfeeding moms out there.
Whether you are lashing out or you’re trying your best while still being judged by other there is always something going on underneath the surface that others can’t see.
So why then when we are on the other side of the table, we find it so easy to believe the worst of others? It’s easier to believe that they aren’t doing their best and that they’re just all jerks that are to be avoided and judged.
Instead of getting upset or angry that your husband is late from work again, think to yourself that something important must’ve stopped him or pray for his safety on his way home from work while choosing a grateful attitude that you have a trustworthy, hardworking husband.
Imagine how much better your outlook on life and of others would be if only you would change your own pattern of thinking.
There is more than what meets the eye.
Start believing the best of people.
Start thinking in a way that always assumes that others around you and in your life are doing the best they can, instead of critically and negatively judging their actions. That’s the simple secret. Don’t let their negative actions impact your mood, actions or reactions. You’ll feel much better going through life!
For more help in this area, be sure to check out Rising Strong by Brene Brown!