It is amazing to me that we don’t have more daily conflict than we do considering how much we all view other people based on our own experiences and projections upon others. It is easy to pass judgment on a situation that we THINK we understand but rarely do. We pass judgment on so many things; for example, when we go to the grocery and we notice that the lines are long to check out, we quickly think, “Well, they need to get more cashiers up here ASAP!” Or perhaps we see road construction that is inconvenient for us and we think, “They shouldn’t be doing this right now. They need to do it when people aren’t trying to get to work.” Or we might pass someone in the hallway at school and they don’t smile at us and we think, “She is rude and snobby.”
As humans, we are extremely selfish in so many ways. We tend to make everything about us when, in fact, very little is actually about us. I have worked hard on this very subject and have found that kindness is ALWAYS the right thing. If you are ever wondering how to respond in a situation, do the kind thing and I promise you will NOT be wrong.
I have found that kindness is like a magical invisible force that seems to change the atmosphere of almost anything. I have experimented with it in many situations over the years. It is next to impossible to choose kindness if you are focused on what you think another person SHOULD be doing.
Have you heard the story of the rowdy children on the train? It was a Sunday morning and folks were enjoying a quiet and peaceful commute into the city. Some were reading the newspaper. Others were napping. Some were reading or chatting with a friend. At the next stop, a man and his six children climbed aboard the train and chaos ensued. The man had obviously lost control of these kids. They were running up and down the aisles. Two of the boys were were wrestling in one of the seats. Another child was climbing from one seat to another. The travelers were irritated at the disturbance and the lack of discipline. This scene continued for several more minutes. Finally, one of the passengers could stay silent no more. Her blood pressure was elevated from the rowdy behavior of these awful children. She approached the father and said, “Sir. This is a public train. We would all appreciate it if you would make your children sit quietly like they should be.”
The father looked up at her. He looked somewhat dazed. His eyes were bloodshot and his face looked as if it had not been shaved in a couple of days. After a few seconds, he said, “Oh, you are right. I’m sorry. We just came from the hospital. My wife passed away and we are not quite ourselves right now.”
This new information caused a paradigm shift for the woman. She was no longer judging the situation based on what she THOUGHT was happening. She now knew more about the real situation and was able to cut the family some slack.
Try this: assume the best in every person you encounter today. If someone is rude, try viewing them as shy. If someone is tailgating you in traffic, assume that they are headed to a funeral and they are running late. Do whatever it takes to remove judgment from your view of the person. Kindness will always make your day better. Give it a try.