The season of giving is upon us, but in truth, giving surrounds us daily.
I was in the grocery store last week and saw a woman looking up perplexedly at the top shelf in the refrigerated section. When I looked at the shelf, I realized she was eyeing a juice bottle at the very back of the shelf, and at roughly 5’3”, she was not likely to reach out without balancing herself on the shelf below, something I could tell she was considering.
There’s nothing quite like trying to do something yourself and someone barging in to do it for you. Still, I gently said, “Would you like some help?” Her reaction could not have been greater had I offered her a pot of gold. Wide-eyed and so grateful (if also a bit embarrassed), she replied, “Oh, you don’t mind?”
Two things happened in that interaction. One was me wanting to help but not wanting to barge in, and the other was someone wishing she could do something herself and being afraid to trouble someone else. I could have easily thought the woman might be incensed if I offered and simply walked away. The solution was simple. Park the egos, let kindness come forward, and the result is simple and effective.
Assumptions can play a significant part in our lives if we let them. Perhaps you assume that someone hasn’t returned your call because they are mad at you – something you said in the last conversation undoubtedly sparked them off. The reality is that their mom ended up in the hospital, and they became so overwhelmed with the situation that the call was the last thing on their mind, with no disregard whatsoever for you.
It’s so easy to play a situation out with assumptions. When you assume you stop listening because you already know the answer or how the discussion will end, don’t you? It’s a powerful way for misunderstandings to happen and interfere with possibilities.
Try asking yourself these questions when situations arise:
Do I have facts to prove this is or isn’t true?
Am I reacting from a space of kindness or ego?
Of course, there is not always time, but if you can use the power of the pause, the outcome may be more beneficial for everyone involved.
And no matter what – B-R-E-A-T-H-E.