Proceed with caution; a story about our deep beliefs of others

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I start from a place of suspicion.  I do not assume the best in people. No, that’s not true…I do not look for the best in the right people. I work from a posture of resistance.  I collect proof to reinforce my preconceived determinations. Anything that will validate my belief in someone, prove me right, check my boxes. Whether it is accurate all the time is irrelevant. Or even most of the time. Ask me how that’s working for me? Insert eye roll here. It’s NOT. Anymore.

In Rising Strong, Brene Brown writes about this. She explains that compassionate people with solid boundaries start from a very different place. They believe “people are doing the best they can.” Imagine that? Here’s the second part of her research that really stopped me. Those who judged others live in a world of resentment and perfectionism that is why it is so difficult to extend grace to others.  We cannot give what we do not perceive in ourselves.

Hmmm…Pause. A very long pause for me. Reread several times. Refute this in my mind. Justify my position; I am different from the people she was referencing.  Nope, that’s me. Perfectionist, self-righteous, prideful, and of course this unattainable measuring stick is directed most often at myself. In that moment, a new desperation filled me; I wanted to be one of them. Not one of me.

These people fundamentally believe the people they interact with daily are doing their best at all times no matter what the circumstance.  They also know they are doing their best. And that’s good enough.

Process. Process. For days. This new concept steeping. I am good enough….

I have not changed in a day. I wish! It has taken an intentional shift in my internal dialogue, my language and my expectations, especially of myself. I am working on establishing healthy boundaries, one of the most important pieces in my world. In my daily interactions, I struggle not to go to my default setting. Often, I must encourage, even coax the positive little lass while the cynic is chattering in the background. So deeply ingrained is this practice, it has to be a conscious reversal.  I am proceeding with caution yet I am delighting at the opportunities for deeper connection this opening up has precipitated.

Tammy Zdunich