I love this quote from Plato:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
It’s a personal reminder that I have no idea or understanding what others happen to be going through – or what they have already gone through at this exact moment. And, even if I ask – I may not get the full picture.
That’s why it matters so much that we – you and I both – constantly work to see things from the perspective of others. Perhaps you feel frustrated because your employee hasn’t gotten his report completed – yet he is frustrated because he has asked you for information three different times (and yes, it was while you were on your way to another meeting) and he is still waiting on it.
Now, take it out of the office. Your spouse seems distant and distracted when you are telling her something important. Your friend hasn’t made time to spend with you in ages. Your kid is grumpy and a major pain when you pick her up from school.
If we take these actions to mean something personal we drive ourselves crazy. Maybe your spouse is dealing with a lousy leader at work who keeps moving the goalpost so she never gets a win – no matter how hard she works. Your friend may have found out her mother has been diagnosed with cancer and is keeping it quiet until they know more by special request of her family, and your sweet child just spent the entire school day being teased and called names by the class bully.
Seriously. We all have it hard when it comes to fighting for our best life. Give others the credit for that UP FRONT. Seek to understand first.