Good people; Good Intentions Thu, May 12, 2016
Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors, thinkers and speakers. She did a TED talk on vulnerability that went viral a few years ago, and since discovering her through that talk I've read a handful of her books and listened just about any interview she's ever done. She's awesome, to say the least.
I was recently listening to an interview she did in front of a live audience, where she asked them a very thought-provoking question: "Do you generally assume that people are doing their best?". She asked the audience to think about one person in their life that they are, for whatever reason, unnecessarily hard on. Maybe a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a co-worker.
She then asked if the audience thought that particular person in their lives was, generally speaking, doing his/her absolute best. It kinda changes things when you think about it that way, right? Many things come into the equation - more empathy, more understanding, more grace, more forgiveness.
Brene then talked about having this same conversation with her husband. When she asked him if he thought people were generally doing their best, his response was simple and profound. He said, "I'm not sure whether they are or not but I know that when I move through the world assuming they are, my life is better."
That kind of blew me away. What good does it do for me if I get upset when someone cuts me off on the freeway? Or when my mom says something that frustrates me? Or even when my boyfriend comes home in a bad mood? As I work to change my mindset to remember that, for the most part, people are doing their best in that moment, then the whole world changes in my favor.