You know what I think this world needs more of? Empathy. That's right, I said it.
It's perhaps my biggest complaint with the human beings I inhabit this planet with. Not to toot my own horn, but I live my entire life by this one simple motto: "don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes." Or something to that effect.
I think so many of us are so preoccupied with ourselves--and how the whole world revolves around us--that we cause ourselves undue amounts of stress and complications harmful to our overall well being.
Case in point, I overheard a conversation the other day that went like this:
Woman is selling her mother's house. Her mother recently passed. She's been in and out of the house now for the past two months getting everything ready. She was riding in the car with her broker, when he relayed to her that he, too, once had to sell his mother's house after she passed. And that for nearly a decade he could never go anywhere near the place, let alone set foot inside the house.
Do you know what this woman took away from this revelation? She was speaking to her friend, and her response went: "Gee, projecting much? Guess he wanted to make me feel guilty about being so gung-ho to sell my mother's house."
And I went: bwaaa? How did you get this from that? WTF, woman! What if the guy was sincerely trying to empathize with your situation? Did you ever think of that? Why does everything someone says have to have a motive behind it?
This right there. This is what I'm talking about. I used a specific example above, but let me tell you: I see this ALL the time! People are so wrapped up in their own needs and egos that they assume anything someone else says or does is some hidden commentary or criticism of their lives.
Please, people. Get over you. Not everything that happens in life is the universe trying to butt into your affairs. Instead of readily taking offense and thinking the worse of someone for something they said or did, how about taking a deep breath and stepping back? That's right, there. Now, put yourself in that person's shoes and ask yourself: which is more likely? That a complete stranger is being passive-aggressive toward me and trying to sneak some criticism past? Or that maybe--just maybe--this person is being sincere with no hidden agenda?
What's that rule about the simplest explanation most likely being the correct one?
Even if giving the benefit of doubt to people around you turns out wrong 1 time out of 10, if you ask me it's better going through life employing a little modicum of empathy toward others than it is to assume that everyone is out to DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!*
I think this is why I'm always described by people who know me as being so calm and stress free. It is true that I have a very mild-mannered, easy going nature. And that, for the most part, stress rarely gets to me.
And I'm here to say that this is the reason why. I don't go through life acting like everything is about me. I don't constantly try to read between the lines of what people say, or to second guess their actions. People who do this, in my opinion, won't live to see 60. Is it really worth it?
I don't know about you all, but I plan to live to be 200!
*For those who don't know this excellent line from a particularly great, award-winning movie, click here and ye shall be illuminated.