I know why you said what you said! I know why you did what you did! I am able to diagnose your motives. Because I believe I know your motives, I am sure you are the problem and not something else–like me!
These are all lies. But, they are lies that we easily fall into. I’ve done it. I have been sure of someone’s motives. Have I ever been right? Maybe.
To be honest, I can’t be sure because when I do ascribe motives to other people, I don’t usually try to find out if I am right or not. I assume I am right and then gripe about the results.
The truth is, very few of us are discerning enough to understand why other people do or say what they do. How can I be so sure? Experience.
We have all had others believe we had one motive when in fact we had another. If you are like me, you may feel unfairly judged and surprised they could believe that about you.
But, then we turn around and do the exact same thing. I know I am usually wrong about other people because I am usually wrong about my wife.
We have been married for 20 years, and I still get it wrong! If I am usually wrong about the woman God placed me with 2 decades ago, then I am sure I am wrong more often with people I’ve known only a few years at work!
Think about this. Why do most of us automatically believe someone else’s motives are negative? We think they are trying to hurt us or just help themselves.
It’s our sinful human nature to always believe others are working against us. If most people are wrong about me, then doesn’t stand to reason I am usually wrong about them?
When I believe I know your motives and I usually believe they are negative, we will never build a strong relationship. Distrust and negativity will permeate all that we do.
Does this sound like anybody’s workplace? I pray this is not what your home life is like.
Stop The Insanity!
I must stop believing in my infallible discernment so much and start believing in other people. Some call this naïve. I am not naïve. But, I tend to find it easy to trust people.
I understand. Trusting may be hard for some people because of past experiences. If you cannot start with trusting, then at least start distrusting yourself as much as you distrust others.
Distrust your ability to read minds. Distrust your ability to know what is going on inside someone’s heart. We’ve all been wrong enough times to at least do that.
Instead of assuming I am right, I have learned to ask for more information:
- What’s your thought processes here?
- How is this going to help?
- Help me understand.
- What don’t I know?
The Bottom Line:
If people who work together begin with the assumption that their teammates have good motives, a lot of conflict could be avoided. Even if the other person makes a bone-headed decision, make the decision to believe they made that decision for the right motives.
When people start from a positive perspective, they can start on problem-solving immediately. On the other hand, if they start by assuming another person had selfish or harmful motives, they may never get to problem-solving.
Distrust slows down everything. Trust allows for quicker action and quicker resolution of issues. Trust also improves my life and the lives of everyone I encounter.
I bet some of you think you know why I wrote this blog, or why I am publishing it today. But do you really?
When have others misdiagnosed your motives? Have you ever done the same?