When it comes to human interactions (yes online counts too, because we are still real people behind the keyboard), there is one thing you can be absolutely certain of: that you have no idea, or not a complete idea of what is going on in the other person’s life.
It doesn’t matter how much you talk to people, it doesn’t matter how close you think you are, there still may be things going on in their life (even if it’s just in their head) that you have no clue of. That means, you don’t know what their priorities are, you don’t know what problems they are trying to solve, and that means you should not judge them merely based on what you see.
We all do this, to some extent or another, because our world view is about us. I’m not saying you are selfish. In fact, it’s a perfectly logical assumption.
Have you ever played or seen those first-person role playing games? What do you see? Only what the character can see.
What happens in books written in first person? You can only see, hear, and feel what the character feels. You get to know the world through that character’s opinions and prejudices.
Each of us are the main character in our very own first person role playing game. You see the world through your very unique eyes, and your perception of the world is filtered based on everything that you believe and experience.
For example, last week, I returned to the UK after 7 months abroad, I found a temporary place to live for one week, and during this week, looked at more permanent places to live, found one, and I am moving there today. Of course this is just one aspect. I’m now in a new city, settling down, and there are a million things that need to be done. And yet someone across the world may be wondering, why the hell didn’t Dolly reply to my email. I sent it two days ago. Well, excuse me, but I was busy fulfilling the basic needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy, like looking for shelter.
This is not even the extreme example. You have no idea if someone’s family member is severely ill, or if their teenager’s getting into trouble. You don’t know if they are suffering from depression, if their relationships are falling apart, or if they have low self-esteem.
Not everyone shares their problems with anyone who would listen. And they don’t need to.
But what you should do is think about that for a moment. Because you would sure appreciate it when someone else pauses before judging you. Haven’t you been frustrated when your boss or colleagues have been on your back, and you were having a rough time at home? Haven’t you been frustrated when your partner keeps nagging you about getting home on time, but you know you need to do more at work to get the promotion you want?
There are so many things going on in people’s life, that you really can’t have a clue.
So next time, before you jump on someone, just pause for a moment. Give them a chance. Try a gentle reminder first, or a request.
Be mindful of others, and hopefully, others will also learn to be mindful of you.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
As you go through a day, keep reminding yourself to be mindful of others. At the end of the day, journal about how many times you were successful and how many times you failed. Take note of why you were successful, and against which people.