“Take the high ground. Be nice about things…”
“Recognize she’s just having a bad day…”
“Recognize he just has poor social skills…”
“Remember they’re just jealous and insecure, and that’s why they act that way…”
These were all things I was taught. In fact, my dad using one of these phrases again just today in a discussion about how to handle a situation. My son jumped into the conversation. “No, that’s how you end up messed up and hating yourself…” My son had a point. See all the good advice about loving others, assuming that they have the best intentions and caring for them can end up really leaving a person messed up.
Always assuming others have the best of intentions means I overlook warning signs. I ignore the little warnings.
I’ve ignored how people talk about other people, and how that is probably a sign of how they will likely someday talk about me.
I’ve ignored watching people tease their other friends, assuming that it is a sign of a strong relationship between them rather than noticing the power dynamic.
I’ve ignored little slights, like when I’ve been dropped from communication I should have been included in or when someone deliberately moves away at a common table. I’ve figured they just want some space, are having a bad day, or whatever.
I’ve downplayed to myself the times people have gotten angry. Or the defensiveness in people’s voices when I talk about my own interests and it somehow makes them insecure about themselves.
I’ve let people convince me that maybe if I did something slightly different, they would have treated me different.
I’ve let people convince me that I have to accept them being angry at me because of some small misunderstanding or mistake.
I’m learning to do better.
I’m learning to not second guess myself as much. I’m learning that I don’t have a moral obligation to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. It is okay to choose not to like people.
I’d like to type “it is okay to walk away from situations without a good reason to do so” but I still find it hard to say those words. I find them hard to say, because people walking away from me has been part of what has hurt me. Yet I know it is true.