As humans, we have a natural tendency to make assumptions and form opinions about others based on their actions, words, and behavior. It’s just how we operate. And, it’s important to realize that we never truly know what’s happening in someone else’s head.
We may think we understand why someone is behaving a certain way, but in reality, we have no clue. It’s important to remember that each person’s experiences, thoughts, and emotions are unique to them, and what we see on the surface may only be the tip of the iceberg, it is also likely none of our business, despite our curiosity.
As someone who lives with OCD, this is hard for me in two ways. First, it‘s rarely obvious to people that my compulsive behaviors aren’t impulsive. And, sometimes more frustratingly, because I am also human, even when I know another person is struggling with a similar condition, I want to tell them to stop, to knock it off, to just let go, or forget about the obsessive thoughts infiltrating their brain. If only it were that simple.
Most of us know that, instead of making assumptions or jumping to conclusions, we should strive to practice empathy and understanding. We can ask questions, listen actively, and try to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. But ultimately, we need to accept that we may never fully know what’s happening in someone else’s head, and that’s okay.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to connect with others or show them compassion. In fact, acknowledging our own limitations in understanding others can lead to greater humility and a deeper appreciation for the complexity of human experience, not to mention preserving friendships.
So, the next time you find yourself wondering what’s going on in someone else’s head, remember to approach the situation with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Instead of guessing or assuming, try to understand that you may never know the full story, and focus on being present and supportive in the moment.
Especially is this difficult in a work environment. People’s empathy account is strictly limited by how of their money is at risk. If the other person’s actions (or non-actions), willful or involuntary, cause serious risk (and one person’s serious risk perception varies widely from another’s), then goodwill rapidly diminishes.
Very interesting. It would be helpful to know more about how your OCD manifests itself. Is it just the thoughts
Your posts are so refreshing Liz. You help others cope. Thank you for this blessing
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Thank you, Carma!