By: Gabriela Yareliz
As people who have had their fair share of disappointments or hurts, we often reflect and then adopt an attitude that says, “I shall not be fooled again.”
Most people see it as a virtue to expect the worst from people. (Especially in places that just drag the cynicism out of you on a daily basis, like New York City). Anything to the contrary is seen as naïve. You figure, it’s a smart move. Instead of being disappointed, you just call it out before it even happens and basically expect another person’s failure or mistake. When they fail, you aren’t surprised.
Yesterday, I was listening to a really great series recommended by a friend. The person speaking said that the happiest people don’t adopt this kind of attitude. Instead, they give people around them the benefit of the doubt. They bring out empathy, instead of cynicism.
Instead of being like “I knew you weren’t going to do what you promised” or making a misunderstanding come from the worst possible place, they understand.
I think that as people, we have long been wired to be cynical to protect ourselves. We believe people come from the worst place and are actively trying to hurt us.
When it comes to relationships with those we love and those who love us, it’s dangerous to allow this same attitude to filter through.
Misunderstandings are very real. None of us can read another’s mind; and disappointments can be inevitable. A person won’t always be on time or able to keep his or her promise. But rather than jumping to the worst possible conclusion when such a thing happens, (which I know I am not alone in doing, at times), what if we were filled with grace?
What if we thought, “X loves me. They don’t want to disappoint me. Obviously something happened, and it’s ok.”
I am good at this in some things and not so good in other areas. I am sure you, being human, have experienced the same. People’s past failures that brought us pain pop up, sometimes. But rather than having them pop up, let’s deal with them as our own issues. Often the person in front of us is not at fault. They really do love us or care for us. When we get mad or express disappointment, we hurt the person in front of us, who was simply trying his or her best. We make them afraid or make them dread us because then they feel like nothing they ever try will be good enough.
The truth is none of us is perfect. We have all been hurt. We all fail. We express our anger, fear, and cynicism at the most inopportune times.
I am sharing this deep flaw in me because I am sure I am not alone. I live in a city that thrives off of self-protection and being competitive.
My goal is not to be blind or taken advantage of, it’s to be graceful to those who love me and who do not actively try to disappoint me. And hopefully, as I develop and discipline myself to show that, not just in some things, but in all things, I will get that grace in return. And even if I don’t, just by bestowing grace, I will be a healthier, happier person because of it.
In what ways can you show more grace, today? Do you expect the best or the worst in people? Who do you want to be?