Assume the best about people
Updated: Jul 20, 2019
I am going to be very honest right up front. I have a hard time doing this.
A Very. Hard. Time. My husband is very good at it. He assumes the best about everyone. He doesn't let bad feelings about the way someone is acting or treating him even enter into his thoughts. Someone is cold, harsh, or even a little mean - and I am distraught. I analyze and obsess.
Something you will learn very quickly about me is that I am a people pleaser. Even worse - I want everyone to love me. It really is a flaw. One of the benefits of this is that I am sensitive to people and I go out of my way to make sure they are ok. But the major problem is that I give people power over the way I feel about myself. The hard truth is that not everyone will like you. No matter what you do or how hard you try - sometimes people will find any reason at all to not want to be your friend.
For years I was controlled by this. I wasn't focused on the people who loved me - I was worried about the one who was indifferent toward me, the one who was cold, or the one who gave me a dirty look. My husband always tells me not to read into it. They might be struggling, or busy, or hurting, or it might now even be directed towards you.
Last Christmas Eve, as I walked through church so filled with cheer over my favorite holiday finally arriving, I very happily said "Merry Christmas" to everyone I saw. The last person I said that to stopped me and said "you know that is the first thing you said to me all year". Yikes. I don't think I said Merry Christmas to anyone else the rest of the night. I obsessed over that comment for the next two weeks until I saw that women again. I was hurt by her. I was self analyzing like crazy. Did I ignore her? Did I really not talk to her all year? I try to make a point to be intentional about engaging with people. I really cared about this women. I felt so horrible about myself. I also felt upset with her that she made that comment in that moment.
Two weeks later I had a sit down talk with her. At first it was not going well. But as we dug deeper I saw that there was a whole other issue that brought this up. She struggles with feelings of rejection. She felt rejected by me and I didn't even know it. I wish that over the two weeks of my stewing - I assumed the best of her. She was hurt and not by me - but by many years of struggling with something that she perceived I was doing this past year. The conversation ended with a great understanding of each other. Yes I believe she had unfair expectations on me. But when you are a pastors wife that comes with the position. Expect it to happen. Be gracious and assume the best when it does.
Now - not every situation turns out like this. There are times when someone is just hurtful or just doesn't want a friendship with you for whatever reason. Assume the best anyway. You don't have to try to be their friend. But fight the feelings and assume that they have their reasons for acting the way they are. It has taken me many years to do this. And I don’t always have it down. But when I practice assuming the best I feel so much better than when I harbor bad feelings about that person.
Have you had situations like I had last Christmas? Do you assume the best or worst about the way people treat you? I would love to know your thoughts and experiences. Message me.