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How to Believe the Best of People (and why it matters)

June 12, 2017

Hello my Besties, and welcome to another week!  I hope you had a great weekend and that you are heading into this week feeling rested and refreshed.  If not, I hope you have scheduled in some self care for the week ahead…you won’t regret it!   Today I’d like to start off by sharing a […]

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Hello my Besties, and welcome to another week!  I hope you had a great weekend and that you are heading into this week feeling rested and refreshed.  If not, I hope you have scheduled in some self care for the week ahead…you won’t regret it!  
Today I’d like to start off by sharing a Bestie confession with you: Sometimes I make judgments about people based on my own insecurities and assumptions.  I don’t try to…it just sort of happens.  As I get older (and hopefully wiser!), I’d like to think it happens less and less…but when I catch myself believing the worst of someone, or not giving them the benefit of the doubt, I feel kind of like a jerk.  
The truth is, sometimes people do things that make us mad.  They screw up.  They say something insensitive.  They don’t keep their end of a bargain.  They are just plain difficult to love. 
The truth is also this:  I do that stuff sometimes.  So do you.  We all do.  Because of that, I want to be better about thinking well of people, and assuming the best of them  instead of the worst.  And also because there’s nothing more embarrassing than assuming the worst about someone only to find out later how wrong you were, am I right?
So lately, I’ve really been trying to work on believing the best of people.  Trust me, I still have a long way to go.  But in hopes that some of what I have been learning can be helpful to my Besties as well, I would like to share some ways we can practice believing the best of people.
Quickly put yourself in their shoes.  Consider what is making it difficult for this person to do the right thing.  They are probably feeling some measure of what you are feeling…frustrated, insecure, disrespected, sad, angry, etc.  Take a few moments to contemplate the why behind what they are thinking or feeling.  Again, don’t assume you know the answer…you probably don’t.  Just spend a little time thinking about things that could be hindering this person right now.
Actually ASK them what’s going on.  Once you have cooled off and considered some possible scenarios other than “this person always does this and they are just trying to make my life difficult!” you can maybe just kindly ask the person what’s up.  THIS IS SO SO HARD.  I know that.  It’s hard for me also.  It’s so much easier to assume and rant and vent and be resentful and bitter.  But really, when I put it that way…it’s actually sounding better and better to just kindly and honestly ask a difficult question.  You can say something like:  “Is everything ok?” or “I feel like things are off between us lately.” or “How are you feeling about _______?”  Be gentle and be direct.  Seek first to understand and then to be understood.  Give them a chance to respond and just listen.
Focus on the truth.  I don’t know how this person who has wronged you is going to respond when you ask them what’s going on.  That’s why it’s scary.  They might totally own up to their mistake and apologize and you can go on from there.  Or they might try to defend themselves or blame you or get really mad.  Either way, we need to focus on the truth.  Here are some truths for us to focus on:  I can’t control other people, I can only control me.  Ultimately, God is in control and that’s a good thing.  I may not be able to control this person’s behavior, but I can control how I respond to it by setting healthy boundaries and changing my behavior going forward.  
Let it go.  Besties, we can’t believe the best of people if we are just replaying their faults and our difficult conversations in our mind.  No, we must learn to let things go.  Practicing meditation, prayer, and exercise are what help me do that the most.  Talking it over with one person you trust (not a zillion, which can also be a struggle if we’re looking for validation…trust me, I know) can also be helpful.  Journaling is a good way to “vent” and get your thoughts outside of you; filling out a thought record is also a very, very good idea.  
We can do this, my friends.  Oh yes we can.  It won’t be easy, but with practice, we can love each other so well…exactly the way we would want others to love us.  If you need some extra support, feel free to email me for my availability and rates.  I’d be honored to support and encourage you!
“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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