Imagine living in a world where everyone is fundamentally good inside, everyone is out to help you, and everyone wants the very best for you. Imagine how it would feel to live in a world where the majority of the population wanted only the very best for each other, and they did their best to make the world a better place. Well I will tell you a secret, that is the world I live in, and you can too.
I once read a book called the soul-mate experience, and in it, the authors introduced to me an idea that should re-frame the way we view all of our relationships. They suggest that we assume that our partner is doing the very best that they can to please us and make us happy. Even if our partner hurts us, makes mistakes, or disappoints us, if we assume that they are doing their best- with what they currently have and know in life- then that relationship can be a much happier and loving space. This idea doesn’t have to only live in our relationships of intimacy, it can take hold in our entire life.
People tend to do the best they can; of course, until we become conscious and self aware, we are bound by the beliefs and experiences we have formed from our life on earth. We often inherit limiting beliefs that hinder us from reaching our full potential, or stop us from beating our weaknesses.
Take for example the man who was beaten as a child; even if he is strong enough to break the cycle of abuse and refrain from hitting his children, he will often still have deep rooted feelings of inadequacy and probably have problems with emotional attachment as well. As long as this man remains a victim to his experiences, he will be unable to fully forgive and live freely. This man may be trying very hard to break free of his experiences in a new relationship, but he simply can’t control his anger and often storms off and slams doors during arguments. We can either assume this man is a bad person and has anger issues (casting a negative light on him and reinforcing the beliefs he has about himself being inadequate), or we can assume that he is doing the best he can given his current and past situations in life. Not only does assuming the best of people free you from negative feelings towards people, but it encourages them to live up to a higher expectation.
The world can be a much happier place when you assume that even when people hurt you, they are simply doing what they have learned to do, they aren’t really out to hurt you: they are just seeking their own form of happiness in some way. When we choose to look past the shortcomings of others and assume the best of them, we give them a special unconditional affection that can change their lives.
Either we can view the world as a selfish and evil place where people hurt each other and seek to make us unhappy, or we can see the world as a confusing place where everyone is simultaneously trying to be happy, overcome their weaknesses, and also be a good person. Its tough out there for sure, and even good people make mistakes, and sometimes hurt others or act selfishly.
Have you ever cheated on someone, lied, stolen, or hurt someone you cared about? Did you mean to hurt them, or did you simply get caught up trying to make yourself happy and hurt someone else in the process? If you can come to terms with the fact that people are doing their best, that everyone is seeking happiness, but sometimes people will hurt you or do something wrong, but that they didn’t intend to cause harm, it frees you from negative emotion: instead of feeling everyone is out to get us, we can feel that the world is a happy place.
Know that the person who hurts you doesn’t hurt you because they desire to harm you or because you deserved it, instead the person chose an action attempting to find happiness that caused you UNINTENTIONAL harm. If you can learn to see the world through these eyes, you will gain a lot of freedom and you won’t feel the need to label and judge others as strongly. When something does something wrong we just say, “They are doing the best they can” and we move on. We don’t need to understand why they did it, we don’t need to berate them for their actions: we become emotionally free to either stay away from the person from now on, or forgive and forget.
By assuming the best of others, we not only encourage them to be better and rise to a higher standard, but we free ourselves from the feeling that we are responsible for or deserve their wrongdoing.