Thursday, January 12, 2012

Perception is everything

Ever roll up on a situation that looked really bad? Some lady giving her male partner what for at the top of her lungs... You wonder what on earth he might have done to deserve such a tirade, or maybe you think no one could deserve such a foul degradation right there in public. You certainly would never do such a thing!

The fact is, however, we don't have the whole story. We don't really know what has precipitated the situation, no matter how long we stand there and eavesdrop. It could be as bad as we perceive it, or it might be a just reaction - we simply don't have enough information to make a sound judgement. Now, I am not advocating turning a blind eye to obvious abuse, I just want to make a point here...

No matter how well you might or might not know someone, you aren't in their skin, or in their heads... So making a judgement call on how they are reacting or what they are rumored to have said is never a safe bet, without first trying to ask some questions. So often we take offense to something before we give the offending party a chance to even know we have an issue. I am guilty of that - OFTEN. I am trying to change my perceptions incrementally. Sometimes I am better at it than others.

Looking back on the situation above, would it change your perception of the woman's tirade if you knew that was her husband and she just caught him in the arms of another woman? It would change mine! But how would I ever know that? That right there is my point.

Even in situations where we are connected to the party who has somehow caused us offense, we don't stop for just a moment and give them an opportunity to explain. We have decided we are hurt and that's that. No more chances, judgment has been handed down. How fair is that? Put it this way, if you were the offender, wouldn't you want an opportunity to explain? I know I do!

When someone hurts you, give them an opportunity to make it right. They may not even know you are hurt and they may have no idea it was they that offended you. Most of the time, folks who are in our inner circles of friendship and family don't intentionally set out to cause us harm. Sometimes it is simple ignorance of the situation. Stop, ask a few questions and be honest about how you are feeling in a calm and collected manner. They may have no earthly idea you are offended or why. This is your chance to be the good guy and their chance to understand how not to hurt you again. After all, perception is everything!