One of the exercises that I have been invited to by one of Brene Brown’s books, Rising Strong, intrigued and scared me altogether. It goes like this:
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths
- Think of one person who really pushes your buttons or hurt you or you really cannot get along with.
- When you have that person in front of you, think this about them: they are doing the best that they can.
So? How do you feel? Granted, we can’t engage in any conversation unless you really, truly, do the exercise.
I for one felt really shitty. If the people I thought of (yeah, not just one, I am a feisty little bugger sometimes) truly did the best they could, then that makes me a jerk for judging them the way that I did.
After the initial shell shock, my mind – tasked with my survival – starts offering me ways out of the whole I just crawled in: “but they should know better, they are educated” / “but they have money, they don’t struggle so much” / “but this happened before, they should have known”… But… but … but.
The truth is, if I think about myself in these contexts I realize that everything that happened in my life, my upbringing, experiences, traumas and successes have shaped me in ways that may not be visible to others and that many times, given my internal struggles (which, again, nobody sees), I may seem like I am cutting corners when in fact I am just trying really hard to stay on track. Doing the very best that I can.
So, this is my invitation to myself and everyone reading today: remember everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. This is truly the berth of assuming positive intentions, always shaping our interactions positively.