Don’t Assume Another Intends to Offend

Conflict is inevitable when there are multiple different interests at play.
The best thing we can do is try to look beyond the current persuasion and think kindly of others.

How often does something happen and your first instinct is that the other person sucks. It can be something so trivial as being cut off in line at the store; or a passing comment made by a stranger, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t understand their situation as clearly as you think. There might be some very justifiable explanation for their actions, something you can’t even think of- maybe because your mind is clouded from your own busy day. It could be a bigger deal, like working with an uncooperative neighbor to pay for a fence, something that consumes hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Are they really just trying to get the best out of you? Resource sharing is a consistent conflict, we all want to make sure we have enough for our own personal security.

We can’t live our lives taking things so personal, assuming another person intends to offend us. How miserable to think poorly of others on a regular basis. To judge them as if they are judging you poorly. We will never fully understand other humans, only ourselves. It is up to us to assume there is no offense intended, unless of course, they make it clear that is the intent (which is not the topic here).

People get offended easily and it is much easier to blame someone else. Take ownership, be the better person, and try to understand where they are coming from. We have to each reach further than half way across the aisle to cooperate fully, leaving some wiggle room for those who aren’t quite there yet.

Be the example by choosing to see others, and their intentions, positively.

Public Sharing of Optimism and Positivism

Let's be positive together.

Let’s be positive together.

Facebook and other social media outlets, Pinterest, Twitter (which I am not very attracted to for some reason), even LinkedIn for example; all have one very noticeable trend in common. Quote sharing of optimism and things of a positive influence. My sphere of influence has been inundated with not only humor, but more importantly and very specifically- good ideas. One of the most misunderstood notions of positive thinking is Karma. When studied at depth it is not supposed to mean the direct effect of your positive actions being rebounded into your life, or more commonly stated, “What goes around, comes around.” The idea is that we live in an interconnected and vast web-like world (kind of ironic I am writing about this on a www page, you know, the world wide web). Whatever actions chosen by people will resonate and create the chain of change… does this make sense? Well, quite literally if we all choose good or positive actions (let’s leave the defining of good for another time, when I have waaaaay more time to explore this sticky mess), there is an increase in good and positive actions to be accessed by all- the net gain is positive. If those in your immediate surroundings, including your very responsible self, choose to input positive and good actions… well, by darned, there’s just more good to go around.

I hear this buzz that people aren’t interested in Facebook anymore, many people are considering closing their accounts or merely not participating. I find this interesting. The reasons are varied, but mostly the same two at heart.

  1. The public sharing of their private information is uncomfortable, even risky.
  2. The input of thier audience (if you will), is not valuable enough for the “time-suck” it becomes to remain involved. In other words, they don’t enjoy it for what it’s worth.

Personally, I enjoy social media for the freedom it has given me to remain engaged with those I choose to interact with. Another attractive feature for me is the location; I don’t have to go anywhere, and I can do it wherever I feel so inclined. Actual face time with individuals and communities is also good, but I often can’t have a casual, undisturbed conversation longer than 5 minutes or so because of my very distracting (and very wonderful) young children.

With that said, my favorite thing about social media is inherent in the title. The public sharing of optimism and positivism. There lies a personal gratification when experiencing something positive or motivating, even if it is just a quote you identify with. So, while we all toil away endless hours participating in this social construct, and the fabric of our lives become intertwined with those in our sphere of influence, let’s remain optimistic. If optimism is a difficult perspective for you, understandably certain life circumstances can feel overwhelmingly disappointing, let’s shoot for positivism. Begin to notice those “status updates” that are positive, or uplifiting. Engage with them, repost them, and carry the thoughts around with you whenever you can. After practicing this, you will feel like there is benefit from doing so, and hopefully you will continue. Little by little we can help one another by living in a more pleasant world, and this is a service that social media can provide for free.

Another note, perhaps there is a question about the distinction between how I understand optimism and positivism. I am probably a little crazy on this one. I am sure some of you will wonder what I am even talking about here, and others will disagree with my distinctions entirely. But, out on a limb, here they are from my positivist heart 🙂

  • Optimism seems as though it is reliant on the hope (maybe even expectation) that the future holds good things, always looking to the better tomorrow is kind of another way to see it (i.e.- that better tomorrow is most certainly deserved and on it’s way ~big wink here). Almost as if optimism chooses to ignore pessimism, or general negativity. Kind of innocent, in that the exposure to negative might be limited or unbelievable to the optimist.
  • Positivism, understands that there is negative and accepts it, but makes the conscious choice to engage in the betterment. It’s a struggle for a positivist approach, because the strings pulling down are recognized and often even addressed. This is the genuine effort to be and do good, even if there is internal conflict with it. Really it’s like you think the world isn’t always a bowl of cherries, but you still work towards making it such because that is the right thing to do.

So here is the deal. I challenge you to publicly share the positive. Every one of you is challenged to share something positive, or beneficial to another. Do this today. Do this tomorrow. Do this every single day. Help someone, somehow, somewhere. If they aren’t expecting it, that is pretty awesome too. Let’s influence the fabric of our lives in a deliberate and positive way.

Please leave one sentence about how you shared positively today in the comments section, it would stand to benefit us all with new ideas and ways to help one another.

Thank you for sharing!