Here is Part 1 if you haven’t already read it.
Maybe Atticus Finch said it best. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
5. Most people aren’t trying to hurt you—they’re trying to find their own happiness.
People don’t cheat on their significant other because it would be fun to hurt him or her. People don’t boast about themselves because they want everyone else to feel annoyed and inferior. People don’t lie to make others feel betrayed. They are just struggling to find happiness and making bad decisions trying to get there. Thinking about this makes you feel a lot less attacked, betrayed, and hurt.
6. People are broken
Like my last point, understanding that people are broken redirects the target of someone’s actions away from you. People have been hurt and continue to hurt. They carry the weight of their struggles with them and never heal their scars. When people are so broken that they are hurting others, they don’t need you to be angry at them—they need love, help, and empathy.
7. The fundamental attribution error
AP psychology alums will recognize the term fundamental attribution error. This is when someone overestimates the effect of someone’s personality and underestimates the effect of situation on someone’s behavior. Remembering this concept will transform the way you interact with people! Instead of quickly judging someone, which is the easy thing to do, try thinking about why someone is acting that way. Talk to him or her. Try to understand. For example, if someone is constantly crabby and negative, don’t get angry at him or her for having a bad attitude: try to understand why this person is acting that way. Maybe he or she is having relationship issues, doesn’t have enough money to pay a bill, or is even depressed. Making people feel understood is one of the best gifts you can give them.
8. You would want someone to forgive you
If you hurt someone and were sorry, wouldn’t you want someone to forgive you? Then, why won’t you do it for other people? Not forgiving people leaves a burden of anger with you like I talked about in Part 1. We all mess up; that is guaranteed. We all also deserve love and forgiveness—without a prerequisite. Even though it is difficult, when people hurt you, love them more and forgive them. Give them the freedom to try again and improve. Make people’s hurtful actions actions bring out the best in you, not the worst.
The power of empathy is immense!