Assuming Positive Intent

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Assuming Positive Intent

Recently I did something that I was embarrassed about and was caught off-guard by my actions being called out by someone else. When confronted, my internal reaction was to defend myself and find them wrong for accusing me (of what I had indeed done). Before any words came out of my mouth, my friend who was with me spoke first and acknowledged that we hadn't really considered the consequences of our actions and that the "accuser" was right. The previously tense situation calmed quickly.


Later when thinking about my internal process I was sad that my first response was to react defensively - especially since I had been thinking a lot about the idea of "assuming positive intent" over the previous several weeks. What might be different if I consistently assumed that other people mean well most of the time? Outside of dangerous situations where harm is meant I think this might radically change the way I walk in the world.


Generally I'm a pretty positive person, and most of the time I do expect the best from people. But when I sense that someone may be acting out of anger, fear or resentment AND I gave them the benefit of doubt of positive intent - there is a significant change in the outcome and the speed of getting to a positive outcome.


So this month, I'm challenging myself to see what happens when I consistently respond too others with the assumption that they are being honest and trying to help in the best way they know. Now this doesn't translate as being naive or ignorant - so I'll make sure to watch out for that as well. Care to join me and see what happens?