What We Don’t Know

We think we know more than we actually do.  Consider the following scenarios:

Scenario What we think
Someone cuts us off in traffic. They are mean-spirited jerks and did that to us on purpose.
Someone is short or rude with us. They are also a jerk, just like the person who cut us off in traffic!  What a jerk.  What a rude jerk!
We reach out to someone via email, text, or phone call and they don’t respond. They must be mad at us.

The “What we think” column sounds rather petty as I write this, but I’ll admit that I’ve often made quick judgments in similar scenarios.   What I’ve discovered is that my quick judgments, like the ones above, are seldom, if ever, accurate.

What if, for example:

  • The person who cut us off in traffic didn’t see us when they were getting over and would have been mortified to know they had done that.
  • The person who was short with me just got a bad medical diagnoses about themselves or a loved one.
  • The person who didn’t respond to an email or text has been preoccupied with an urgent family emergency or has just been busy and hasn’t had the chance to respond, even though they have been thinking about us.

The next time we’re presented with a similar scenario, let’s consider something besides or initial negative judgement; perhaps a response with a little more grace and understanding.  Just like the type of response we’d like to receive.


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