Give People the Benefit of the Doubt

Give people the benefit of the doubt - Pam sitting on the stairs

So last week I encountered a random act of not-so-kindness as my husband and I were in the train on our way to visit a friend.

Normally we stand by the entrance doors, but I needed to do my make-up so while my husband stood, I sat down on the stairs.

As we approached one of the train stops a 50 something-year old man appeared at the top of the stairs and I moved over to make room for him to walk down. People sitting or standing on the stairs is not uncommon in the train, so I thought the man would just walk down without a problem.

Except, he didn’t. He just remained standing at the top of the stairs and grunted something I didn’t understand. Only when I heard Tobi say: “Hey, hey it’s okay!” did I turn around to hear the man say: “You’re in the way!”

I was a bit shocked as I gathered my stuff together and stood up from the stairs. As the man came grunting down, I felt my blood rushing with anger at how rude this man was behaving. My initial reaction was to yell: “Hey you mean person! You don’t need to act like this!” but instead when he walked past me I calmly said: “The world is not so bad that you need to be so mean.” He didn’t say anything back to me and he just left the train.

After the doors closed and the train kept moving I could still feel the anger bubbling inside. If my husband was the “fighting type” I’m sure he would have punched this man in his face.

Tobi (my husband) and I sat in silence for the next few minutes and my mind became flooded with thoughts like:

“What’s this dudes problem?”

“Why are some people so mean?” *Crying face emoticon*

“I didn’t do anything to him!”

The thought of: “maybe this man has difficulties going down the stairs and he needs all the space he can get” came to mind, but then I thought: “Well he could have just asked nicely!” I would have totally stood up immediately.

And then in the middle of all these thoughts I had a conscious realization of how the feelings, thoughts and actions that we choose to have in these types of situations shapes the way we see the world and humanity. It is so easy to feel attacked and become a “victim” when another human being acts like a total jerk towards us. It’s easy to want to react and “attack” back.

But then I began to think:

“Maybe he is going through a tough time?”

“Maybe he is going through a divorce?”

“Maybe his dog died?”

Maybe, maybe…MAYBE I just don’t know anything about this mans life and the struggles he is going through.
Maybe he really is just a jerk and doesn’t deserve to be excused!? I don’t know. And I will probably never know.

But either way, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say maybe he is having a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Because you see, I believe that when we give people the benefit of the doubt, our feelings towards the not-so-nice people changes. Instead of feeling like humanity is turning into the animals trampling each other like on that one scene from the Lion King where poor Mufasa gets killed; we can become the real life music video to USA for Africa’s “We Are the World” single.

By filling our hearts with empathy towards others, we diminish the space left for anger and indignation. I also believe that by giving people the benefit of the doubt, we are able to navigate through the unkindness of this world with peaceful and happy heart.

As the saying goes: *”Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Thank you so much for reading my friends! Let me know what your thoughts are on not-so-nice people… I loooove hearing from you! 🙂

With smiles,
Pam 🙂

* I tried to find the author of this quote but I came across several quoted authors… Therefore, I decided to leave it without ownership.

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4 Thoughts to “Give People the Benefit of the Doubt”

  1. Katerina

    Another wise and inspiring article and such a lovely picture!

    1. Pamela Giacometti

      Thank you very much Katerina! I’m glad I could bring some inspiration to your day! Lots of love and hugs!❤️

  2. Lulu

    Wise and inspiring article.
    This articles are changing my life.

    1. Pamela Giacometti

      Your the best! Thank you for your support mother dearest of mine. ❤️

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