Assume the best. Even about A**holes.
One of the greatest lessons I have ever learned through coaching is to always assume positive intent. And if you can't get all the way to positive, assume ignorance.
Assumptions about people's intentions comes up on nearly every coaching session I have. and I bet it's showing up in your life too.
So how to I think positive thoughts about the all the a**holes in the world?
I use Byron Katie's 'the work' to confront my assumptions head on. When I find myself angry or hurt, I ask myself 4 questions:
Is it true?
Can I absolutely know that it is true? (spoiler - there's only one way to answer yes to this)
How do I react, what happens, when I believe this?
Who would I be without that thought?
A critical observation about question #4 is that it asks 'who' would you be, not what would you do.
I love this distinction because in the coaching work that I do we are working to completely embody the person that we wish to be.
We don't just want 'do' things that we value, we want to 'be' what we value.
We want to be curious, loving, forgiving, openminded, fun, wise, thoughtful, easy to be with, etc. Our actions are the indicator of who we are. You can't be a curious person who is always angry and resentful of those who hurt us.
The 4 questions is a way to bridge the gap between what we want and who we are. It takes practice. We really want to believe our thoughts. Even the false and hurtful ones usually provide some feeling that we want to indulge in. Like being a victim. Our brains really enjoy victimization. It actually creates dopamine and becomes addictive. But it doesn't ever serve us. And you can train yourself out of this habit with practice.
Is your anger or sadness rooted in negative assumptions. Have you been holding onto this assumption for so long that you believe it to be an unchangeable fact?
Would you like to explore w