I sat on the other end of the phone taking in the downright nasty conversation. “What happened to John Doe?” I pondered. The guy I knew never behaved like this. “JD, what is going on? You seem to be having an off day. Is there something I can do to help?” I inquired. His voice started to quiver as he told me about his daughter, a beautiful 21 year old who he recently discovered was an addict. His heart broken, his bad behavior was a smokescreen for what was really going on in his life. Now knowing the problem, I also knew how I could help.
Meanwhile in Wendywoman’s Office…
Wendywoman looked out over her desk, disgusted at the site of Methaneman and the toxic cloud that seemed to follow him. Realizing she needed to change her perspective, she reached into her drawer and put on her “love” glasses. WOW! Viewing him through a different lens gave her a whole new point of view.
What can you do?
I’ve made a career out of figuring out what makes people tick and how I could get them to tick faster, more consistently and as a result, be happier. Along that journey, I have learned one very important thing: from the crack house to the White House, you never know what is going on in someone’s life and for certain, things are never what they seem.
When’s the last time someone let you borrow their shoes so you could walk in them? Probably never! So often we think we are psychic and know what is going on in someone’s life or how they should respond to a certain situation. We view them as unfriendly or “he’s got issues”. The truth is there is a reason that people behave a certain way but too often we judge people without knowing their story – or as I like to refer to it, their yesterday. Each one of us has a yesterday that contributes to who we are today. Over the years I have found that if I take the time to understand a person’s yesterday, I am much more forgiving of what they’ve become today. Gone are the days that I am critical and write people off, but instead take the time to get to know them – really know them.
I aspire to find out what they are all about and to help them change their choices of today so they can change their life tomorrow. When you understand the battles that people have endured or the stress they are under, you may be far more willing to forgive them for their behavior. Don’t get me wrong. This is not a hall pass for inviting people with chronic bad behavior into your life that will suck your energy dry; but this is about understanding that there are times when people have acute bad behavior and there is a legitimate reason for it. One of the greatest gifts I have been given this lifetime was when I learned to give people the benefit of the doubt. When I finally figured out that most people did not wake up that day with a specific mission in life to piss off Wendy, my life changed. Instead, I believe that for the most part, everyone is a good person – they just may be having a bad day.
A challenge to my blog readers…
This week when you feel agitated by someone or something and feel compelled to judge their behavior, pause for a moment and instead change your perspective by looking through the lens of love. Instead of taking their behavior personally say, “I’m sorry you seem to be having a bad day. Is there something I can help you with?” You may be surprised at what the answer might be. And when you are passionate about being an empathetic listener, you will get gifts in return that you cannot even begin to imagine. That I can promise you!
Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch me on Facebook (Wendywoman) to let me know how you are doing.