This is sometimes easier said than done, isn’t it?
Years ago, a friend gave me a magnet with this quote on it, and I’ve recited it to myself many times since. I think sometimes we have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves and one another. Well, I do at least. It can be hard for me to keep things in perspective.
Sometimes I wonder how the world might be different if we always gave one another the benefit of the doubt. Not to the point of being a doormat or anything, but just in an effort of paying it forward, trying to give others the consideration and patience we would want if we were in their situation.
My mom is really good about this. I’ve gotten better about not getting too annoyed with people who cut me off in traffic and stuff. I just think, “Oh, maybe the have a family emergency” or “They didn’t see me.”
My mom, on the other hand, will create elaborate back stories that crack me up. “That driver probably just got a call from their daughter’s school that she’s sick and they’re rushing to get her. Now she’s probably not going to be able to go to ballet class tonight, and she’s going to be really disappointed because she was going to wear her new pink tutu. Poor thing!”
I tease her about the amount of detail she adds to her stories, but I love the idea of it: remembering we’re dealing with other people. People who have thoughts, feelings, their own stresses, and challenges. People who may be having a bad day when we happen to meet them and need a little more empathy, compassion, and patience than they may usually require.
Sometimes that frazzled person is me. If we’ve crossed paths on one of my off days I promise I didn’t mean to cut you off. I wasn’t giving you a dirty look; I was just deep in thought, and the “me” you’re seeing right now is just the “me” of this moment. I’m usually a lot better (and maybe sometimes a little worse).
I especially need this reminder as a wife and mother. Sometimes I’m amazing with my kids. Other times, not so much. It’s hard for me to remember that I’m allowed to make mistakes. I can learn from them and be better next time, and I can show my kids that I’m human by apologizing if I do something wrong or don’t handle something as I wish I had. I’m trying to live this quote, for myself and others, instead of just memorizing it.