Sorry this is so long, but you know me, I have to write it all BOOK length.
Some of you may know that I have, of late, had the opportunity to reflect in some depth on the way I handle my real-life relationships with other people.
Online I'm great. I put myself out there and don't usually see where people snicker at me, think little of me, speak badly of me behind my back, etc.
The trouble is, in real-life I've been having a lot of trouble lately. So let me explain where I'm coming from and I would appreciate some honest advice.
I have held for the last several years a strict policy of assuming the best in others. When something happens I have trained myself to look for the possible good intentions of the person who did it. I try to put myself in their shoes and give them every opportunity to NOT be a villain.
For the most part, I have found that this makes me see things from a more Christlike perspective. (Not that I'm bragging, I know I am far from perfect in this... esp with my kids, sigh.) With practice it has become my nature to think of 3-4 good motivations for an action, even if the action is "bad" by popular standards. This has made it easier for me to see others in a good light and love them in spite, or even because of their mistakes. I even get along with my mother-in-law pretty well (which will shock anyone who has known me long.)
I think I am right in this choice, most people are not cruel by nature. They are God's children, and whatever their mistakes they do things thinking they are doing the right thing. Why would anyone hold a perspective they do not really believe? Why would anyone stand for something unless they feel it is right? They wouldn't, people who know or suspect they are wrong re-think, adjust their stance, try to be more right.
The only cases of cruelty or ill-intent I have seen have been cases where it is obvious to me the person acts out of misinformation or anguish, and how can I condemn them for that?
My trouble lies in my recent experiences with people assuming the worst intentions IN ME. Somehow in this quest of new thinking I have apparently lost touch with the way others think (yes, even while trying to understand how they think. I'm not as smart as I think I am sometimes.) They assume ill-intentions of me all the time, think I do out of spite things I do out of logic and trying to balance the demands upon me. Even when I make a special effort to explain my intentions, they think I am a liar and really mean to injure them.
I really try not to make mistakes, I try to be kind, loving, and thoughtful in all I do. This recent rash of railings against me has left me teetering on the brink of depression and feeling lost.
I have realised that this is a something I really need to learn from, that something in my actions, or perspective must be lacking. This is another refining fire for me, another chance to become better, a chance to more closely align myself with the correct path. It just pretty painful right now, and I long for a sage verse of scripture to spell it all out for me. I need that ah-ha moment that suddenly clicks something inside me and unlocks the view of my next stepping stone.
So tell me, am I really supposed to live my life constantly choosing every action based on the myriad of bad-intentions others will imagine for me? Should I be adjusting my thinking to "How will someone think badly of me for this?" or "What choice will have the least amount of people angry with me?"
How do I live like that? How do I balance having a forgiving heart with living in a world where people seem to WANT to think badly of others? How on earth am I supposed to function thinking along that many paths at the same time, and all the time? My brain is already strained trying to juggle everything I've got going on.
Any thoughts? There has to be a simple solution for this. Something plain and precious, that's how God works, isn't it?
I guess I'm looking for the line between naive and truly wise, can anyone point me the right way?