Assumptions

I hate grocery shopping. When I lived in Chico for school I tried to save money by going to Winco for groceries. It was cheap but always crowded on weekends, which were the only days I had time to shop. I can’t stand crowds either. One day the parking lot was extremely full. I thought I found a good parking space and was amazed. When I went to pull into the space I saw that there was a shopping cart in it. I was annoyed but tried to fit my car in anyways. As I was pulling forward a man walked in front of my car and I freaked out. I was waving my hands around angrily and cursing and was just pissed off. Then I realized that the man walked in front of my car to move the shopping cart for me… I felt terrible. Once I parked I thanked him.

The rest of the grocery trip I felt so bad. I couldn’t believe I assumed the worst of someone when they were trying to be kind. I realized that this is something people do every day. Assume the worst. Why do we do this? Maybe we assume the worst because we see negative things happening every day all around us. We see terrible things on the news and terrible things happen to us. Why do the terrible things stand out? Maybe is because terrible things evoke stronger emotions than good things.

This story is something I have always remembered vividly and I retell it often. I see this story as one that restores my faith in humanity. People still perform random acts of kindness. It’s just sad that we find it shocking when the random acts of kindness happen to us.

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You Have No Idea

One thing we do as humans far too often is to assume someone’s disposition. Some examples:

-Assuming the guy who just cut you off in traffic is an asshole and did it on purpose.

-Thinking the scatterbrained woman who can’t place her order is senile and shouldn’t leave her house.

-Assuming that the girl who didn’t hold the door was a bitch who doesn’t care about anyone but herself.

These are some things that people may assume about others, and there are many more. We do this every day. It is human. It is easy to assume that people are evil or that they don’t care. But think about this… when you cut someone off in traffic, do you do it on purpose? Was it an accident? Did you even see them?

When you are having a terrible day, and can’t think straight enough to order your coffee, do you hope and pray that the cashier will understand? As humans, we automatically assume other people’s dispositions, instead of wondering what their situation is. Maybe the guy who cut you off didn’t see you, or he just found out his wife was in a car accident… Maybe the girl who didn’t hold the door didn’t see you, or maybe her arms were full.

Give this a try… you might find yourself less frustrated with others, and more contemplating where they are coming from, or what they are going through at this moment… you may only hope that others would do the same for you.