Assume Best Intentions

This isn’t kayaking related, but you may enjoy it anyway…

I had a good life-lesson and reminder this week about assuming best intentions.  Toward the end of a long day in a stressful week I found myself taking the easy route in some conversations. But a comment from a coworker gave me pause, and led to some much-needed self reflection.  I had mentioned receiving a gift in the mail from a friend I haven’t spoken to in over a year, and how odd it was to open the package and not find a note or card included in the package.  My wise-beyond-her-years coworker simply said, “maybe he forgot to put in in the box.”

It’s easy to go to the negative place.  To complain, to look for what’s wrong.  It’s much harder to try and look past the seemingly obvious and put yourself in another persons shoes, or to question whether your interpretation of the “story” could be totally wrong.  Another example from earlier in the month was a post a business friend had liked on Facebook. It bothered me enough that I sent him a private message asking if he really supported that viewpoint.  Turns out he was swiping through his feed on his phone and didn’t even realize his “swipe” had liked the offensive post.

How is it that my first thought was “oh, I didn’t realize he was so racist” instead of “wow, I bet that was a mistake.” ?

I know why. I took the easy route and assumed the worst – went to the negative place.  My challenge for me, and for you, especially in this season of giving and loving, is not to do what is easy; for what is easy is rarely what is right.  Instead, be intentional in thought, response and action. Assume best intentions and take an extra moment to consider what else may really be going on.