Monday, July 19, 2010

The Benefit of the Doubt

I think there is a lot of hurting and reacting in our world. People are easily offended, and use it as an excuse to retaliate. They quickly condemn. The other party gets defensive and strikes back, and before you know it, an argument has started, or worse. You see it in comments made on online news articles, you hear it on the radio, you watch it happen over any topic that has two sides to it. And doesn’t every issue have two sides?

We humans are very complex beings. We all have distinct beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences. We are capable of a wide range of emotions; we also can be very unemotional. What is important, or offensive, or meaningful to one person may not be to another. This is why, my friends, before we get angry, or condemn one another, it is important to open our minds up and consider: Where is the other person coming from? This thinking leads me to give people, situations, and ideas that are different from mine the Benefit of the Doubt.

My principle of the Benefit of the Doubt has the following rules:
- Realize that my knowledge is limited. I probably don’t have the full picture.
- Refuse to be cynical.
- Try to understand where the other person is coming from. Ask questions to accomplish this.
- Realize that people have different definitions of the same word. This leads to many, many misunderstandings. For example, what is your definition of the verb “judge”? How about the word “everybody”? Or “religious”?

When an action, statement, article, or person hurts or threatens me, I feel the pain, but I do not react from a place of pain. I hold off on reacting until I can think thoroughly about it. I ask questions if possible. I try to let love guide me, and, when all else fails, I simply give people the Benefit of the Doubt, and freely move on.

After all, we humans are very simple beings. We all desire love, friendship, and to be a part of something larger than us. Remembering that we all are in the same boat and have a common destiny prompts me to be compassionate.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please add to the conversation! I'd love to hear from you.