We shape our world and respond to situations based on our past experiences. It’s an instinctual thing that exists to ensure we don’t make the same mistake twice. It’s an intelligence which we mostly owe our progression as a species to. And it’s also something that can hold us back.
Today I found myself thinking the worst of someone and a situation when I didn’t necessarily have reason to. I’d just jumped to conclusions very, very quickly, which was probably rooted somewhere in my experiences of other people. Using these experiences I unfairly coloured today’s situation with the past – which isn’t a very fair thing to do.
I believe that almost everyone is good at heart, and everyone has the potential to be. We are creatures in flux: ruled by emotions, hormones, desires, fears and our environment. Throughout our lives we morph in to different versions of ourselves and learn from our experiences. Sometimes, people in our lives may do crappy things, it doesn’t automatically make them a bad person. (I’m not talking about illegal things here, different kettle of fish) It also doesn’t excuse bad behaviour, but perhaps we can take a step back and begin to explore the situation a little more.
We constantly develop expectations, often without realising, but if we try to ignore them a little, we may be surprised. When we lay expectations on a person or situation, we hold them or it in a rigid space, making it harder for them to shatter our expectations and render ourselves less able to acknowledge it when they do.
In the past I’ve gotten myself in to a fair bit of trouble for my beliefs that everyone is good at heart. While I was painting an angelic picture of someone who shall remain nameless, he was getting away with a lot behind my back – taking advantage of my good and trusting nature. It wasn’t good in any way shape or form, but I learnt a lesson: there’s giving people the benefit of the doubt, and there’s ignoring what you already intuitively know, in the hope that you’re wrong and because it suits you better (for the time being).
As you grow, you’ll find you’re better able to judge situations. I suppose it’s about never jumping to conclusions until you have evidence to support what you feel. Not gossiping on hearsay, or pulling conclusions from an unfounded rumour. And the best way to reach the truth? More often that not go straight to the source. Ask them directly- there’s a chance things may not be quite as they seem. (Or they may be.)
This rule also applies to situations. Never think the worst of situations, I think sometimes when we get ourselves in to that mindset of ‘it’s all bad, it’s all going wrong’, then we stop seeing it for what it really is, and it will appear even worse to us. Allow things to play out truthfully, without jumping to conclusions. Live them moment by moment, letting them reveal themselves to you and then make judgement.
When we get ourselves in to a negative head space, it’s hard to see beyond that, to what’s truly happening (I suppose as equally as when we’re in an overly positive head space.) It’s about finding that balance and listening to the truth, not our predictions – which in turn will nearly always be based on past experiences.