It's hard to do. Sometimes impossible. But when I think about how I want others to treat me, that's what I want. I want grace, forgiveness, and understanding. I'm getting better at putting myself in someone else's shoes. Maybe that person is tailgating me because they're late for a job interview that they need more than anything I can imagine. They need a job to feed their children and they've just been beaten down by life right now, and the last thing they need is for me to be an asshole about them doing the best they can to get to their interview. Maybe my barista had her boyfriend break up with her last night, and it's all she can do to make me a cup of coffee without breaking down. Maybe the jerk who screamed at me on my bike and nearly drove me off the road had an abusive father and doesn't know how to cope, and so he yells at bikers and anyone else who annoys him. I don't know. The straight up fact is that I don't know the facts. I don't have all the information. Actually, I have very little information. And my natural instinct is to fill in those blanks with stuff like, "well that person is a jerk." I forget that, I'm not a jerk, but sometimes things happen and I act like one. Sometimes I give you bad service as a barista because I'm having the worst day, sometimes I tailgate you because I'm in a hurry and not thinking. And who knows, maybe that person really is a jerk. Maybe they really are being intentionally mean to you, just to be mean, but you don't know that. You don't have that information. I would much rather err on the side of grace. I would much rather smile at my morose barista, instead of scowling and not tipping. Maybe she really is mean, but if she is having a bad day, I'd rather be the person not making it worse by being a jerk back to her.
It's not easy. For some reason it seems like our natural tendency is to assume the worst about other people's character in those situations. It's a challenge to fight the entropy of assuming the worst. I don't succeed all the time, but I find that I'm a happier person when I choose grace, forgiveness, and understanding, rather than anger, holding a grudge, and judgement.
dress (worn as top) / courtesy of evermicrush :: skirt/courtesy of modcloth