The regrets we have in life are powerful driving forces of change. It is difficult to change the fundamental essence of a human being, but regret does a good job of kicking off that process in people. A common source of regret is making wrongful assumptions about the ones around us. Would the knowledge of a child’s parents dying in a car accident change the way you treat them when they misbehave? Would the knowledge of a coworker’s cancer diagnosis make you be more lenient with them coming in late in the morning?
This article hopes to encourage you to fear the unknown aspects of others’ life stories. Making assumptions about the trials and tribulations of others’ lives is a common source of regret in human beings. If you were to punish a schoolboy for misbehaving in the classroom only to find out that his parents have recently passed, you’re likely to feel a sense of regret for your harsh actions. Knowledge of instances in the lives of others changes the way we interact with them. Naturally, we want to protect the well-being of people who’ve witnessed pain, and not add onto it.
Be Sensitive Until You Know the Full Story
The way to minimize the regret of adding more pain onto others’ life experience, is to always be cautious with your words and actions until you know a fuller story behind a specific situation. Be strict with never making assumptions about others operating with malice rather than ignorance or pain. Do not assume people are out to hurt you rather than to bring comfort to pain of their own.
Give everyone the benefit of the doubt until you find out more. Be calm with how you deal with those who act out but who you don’t know much about. In doing so, you’ll not only minimize potential regret, but also not serve to ruin your reputation in the eyes of those who know more about the situation at hand than you do.
Know that there are triggers to the actions of those around you. Do not respond to the actions of others in strict ways if you have no knowledge of what triggered their action to begin with. Anticipate people coping with their own problems in ways which you don’t expect. Yearn to be different in how you react to others’ actions and words, for which the ones around them don’t react well to. Attempt to truly understand what others are going through prior to adding onto the trials which they need to cope with.
What’s in It for You
Getting into the practice of learning more about people, and their past, prior to taking decisive action of your own, will encourage others to open up around you. Those who notice that you’re honestly attempting to figure out their inner workings will grow to respect you. They will grow to trust your decision making, as the decision to understand them prior to making judgments will be a good one by their account. They will know of your ability to empathize and will view you in a brighter light than they view the rest.
If you begin to go through trials of your own, the people who you’ve treated fairly by attempting to understand the triggers for their actions, will be there to back you. They will defend you against people who make invalid judgments on the purpose of your words and actions. They will be there for when you need some understanding in your life, and can provide support when you need it most.
Don’t underestimate the power of attempting to understand what someone else is going through. It takes time out of your day, and energy out of your body and mind. However, the potential upside is significant. Remember, those with whom you interact with have the capacity to end the world or go on to save it. Making a mark on others by not reacting to actions for which you don’t know the triggers of, is powerful in building your reputation in their mind. Whatever they go on to becoming in life, they’ll hold you in high regard.