**Today’s story comes from a dear friend and highlights the possibilities of seeing a situation differently.
Arriving at the golf course, my friend Becky spotted another golfer, Jessica, getting into her car to leave. Becky thought it was odd that for the second week in a row, this solid player had suddenly opted to forego the event despite signing up in advance. When Becky met up with her friends, they indicated that Jessica left after seeing who she was partnered with for the day.
There was a significant amount of discussion about Jessica’s behavior in between golf shots. “Why doesn’t she like the women she’s supposed to play with?” “Does she think she’s too good for us?” “Seems like an attitude problem.” Everyone seemed to have a theory about what was really going on and the stories put Jessica in a pretty bad light.
Listening to the discussion, Becky was troubled. She and her cart partner briefly discussed other possibilities for Jessica’s actions. What if she had a physical injury or illness? Could she be getting to the course and realizing that she was not feeling up to playing? Maybe she was uncomfortable sharing that she had some “real” problem. Maybe she just didn’t want to play. What would be wrong with any of those things? (Allow)
As the round wore on, the other golfers debated about sending a group-wide email explaining the appropriate etiquette on golf day. While addressed to all, it would clearly be directed toward Jessica. The view was that this would solve the “problem.” Becky was wondering why people would want to “call out” someone who didn’t want to participate – making them wrong. She also wondered about the amount of time being spent on this matter. (Accept and Release)
This story raises a number of questions: How often do we assume that someone has a hurtful motive, and then find it is the furthest thing from the truth? What does it do to us and our relationships with others when we jump to believing the worst about people? How much energy do we expend judging someone’s actions when we could be savoring the weather, the activity and our friends? What other solutions could we find to be more compassionate to someone like Jessica?
*** Consider this quote: “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” — Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)