Assume Positive Intent

April 17, 2023

Be honest. Do you usually “assume positive intent” in your human interactions? With people in traffic? With strangers out in the world?  With your coworkers?  With your partner? Is your […]

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Be honest. Do you usually “assume positive intent” in your human interactions?

With people in traffic?

With strangers out in the world? 

With your coworkers? 

With your partner?

Is your default to assume positive intent?

Or is your default to assume they’re an asshole, inconsiderate, a jerk, etc?

Hey, it’s ok. We’ve all done it. I think I’m super Zen until I get behind the wheel and am reminded that patience is an ongoing refinement.

But how often do we *assume* people are being jerks or being intentionally inconsiderate? 

And listen, maybe they are. That’s not really the point. 

The point is that when you go into a situation, any situation, AUTOMATICALLY assuming negative intent? 

You’re not helping the dynamic. 

You’re putting the other person in the position of being your enemy, which puts them on the defensive

Think about it this way:

As you go through your day, do *you* ever make “oopsies”?

Let’s stick with the driving example. 

Let’s say you find yourself accidentally blocking a lane or in a situation that’s inconveniencing everyone behind you? And boy, you feel bad about it, because inherently you’re a good person who really didn’t mean for it to happen. And yes, you need to pay more attention. But sometimes we’re human and even with the best of intentions, we’ll be inconsiderate or inconvenience someone. 

If one of those people starts shouting at you and calling you names…

Is your response going to be “Gosh, I’m sure sorry I caused you this inconvenience, kind sir”.

Maybe after you’ve done a LOT of work.

More likely, your default reaction will be to get defensive and shout right back.

Because our default will be to match the energy we receive, when someone ELSE doesn’t assume positive intent (or in this case that we’re a good person who just made a goof).

This may seem a silly example but it is a very real thing that happens in our daily interactions with strangers, much less our partners or people close to us.

For an experiment, let’s try this:

Let’s default to assuming that people didn’t intend to do the jerky thing. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.

Assume positive intent.

And if they really are jerks, I guarantee you that you’ll find out soon enough. But at least this way, YOU feel better in your daily interactions and you give other people the grace to open up when they have made a misstep. 

We could all use more grace in being human. Let’s be that change.

Assume positive intent – see how much better you feel, and how interactions around you start to change.

Have Courage and Sparkle On

Check out my short video on this topic here!

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