Before, like many, I used to react to whatever anyone did or said anything to me which I did not agree or understand. I would absolutely react. Not necessarily directly with them, but I used to get disturbed. I used to get irritated and annoyed very quickly with them. My attention was always on their actions. Why in the world would they say or do that thing, I wondered? I never looked at it from their perspective. It was always from my angle.
As I got the second lease on my life six and half years ago, I became more compassionate and understanding of people. I started to look at 'why' one says or does a certain thing instead of reacting to it right away. I had always believed that the intention behind my actions is all that matters. So why not apply the same filter to others? Why just look at their actions? And not their intention? As I started looking at people’s intentions behind their actions I gained some insight - most people I found had a good intention of doing or saying a certain thing. So even if I did not agree with their actions but at least I started to understand why they did or said something. I tried to understand their intentions behind those actions. And most of them did or said those things had good intentions for me from their perspective. It took me life altering adversities to start looking at people’s intentions behind their actions. It is not an easy thing to do. It is very easy to judge or form an opinion just based on their actions. But it is eye opening when you start looking at their intentions behind them. It was for me for sure. So how do you understand one’s intention? What worked for me is this process. First, I take a deep breath and just observe. I don’t judge anything or react instantly but just observe what is going on. Second, I look at their physical and nonverbal behavior beyond just their actions. And last, I listen to my gut and not to the emotions I feel as a result of people’s actions.
I wish I had started doing this much before. I think it would have saved me a lot of angst and hurt in my personal and professional life. I believe people in general will benefit greatly if they don’t automatically react or judge someone’s actions but try to look for intentions behind it. Iam not naïve to say all people have good intentions behind their actions, but I can certainly say most people do. But we have to by design try to understand their intentions behind their actions. Not judging them only on their actions but being open to looking at their intentions is the secret sauce.
It is never too late to do many things in life you did not do before. Looking at the intentions of others and not just their actions is one of them!