Assume the best

I was waiting in line in the bookstore.  It was a long line.  I was next and 4 – 5 people were standing behind me. A little check-out item caught my eye and distracted me for a moment. When the clerk politely called “Next”,  I was startled by a man who walked right passed me and took my place in line.

My mind flooded with thoughts, many of them not so nice. My “That’s Not Fair Meter” sky-rocketed. The chatter behind me was equally outraged as a mother shared with her young daughter about “stupid, entitled men”.  Another person blamed the clerk for not paying more attention to her customers and started calling her and the store names. The talk went on about this man’s character and what horrible customer service the store had provided.

It was a 5 minute exchange, but a powerful one none-the-less.

Ever notice how the mind can just rolls with assumptions? And how often we assume the worst about people?  We assign motives to people’s behavior and create a mental story about the person without ever checking or clarifying. We assume the worst possible scenario without seeing the good in the person or cutting them a break. We attach a whole bunch of things to a person or an event that may or may not even be real and it ignites emotion and perspective that is often unkind, inaccurate, and destructive.

We assume a lot, it’s natural.  So starting today, why not assume good things? Why not assume the best in people or at least something a little more neutral?  Imagine this story instead… A man, out of sheer distraction, cuts in line. The people, though surprised, quickly dismiss the act, remembering the number of times they too have been distracted and unaware, resulting in their own mistakes. A mother reassures her daughter that everyone makes mistakes and in the scope of things, it’s really no big deal. Imagine customers who offer a clerk a break because she’s busy and doing the best she can to get people through her line and on with their days and she simply didn’t see what happened.  Imagine a line of people offering kindness, patience, and perspective when things like that happen because they chose to believe the best in people.  Imagine the difference….

That’s the kind of world I want to live in. That’s the type of person I want to be more of.