I've been thinking alot lately about reactions. People react to so many different things in this world in so many different ways. But a reaction that seems to be becoming more common is defensiveness. Sometimes this is appropriate, but more often than not (at least in my unofficial survey over the last week), there is no need for any defensive response.
I believe we often mistake the intent behind another person's inquiry. When we assume that they are seeking information as a means to be better than us or to judge us, then we are left with only two choices: take up the defense of ourselves, or be offended and begin judging the other person. And neither of these lead to anything good.
Of course my solution is quite simple, and something I am already very fond of ...
ask more questions. Clarify the true meaning of the words someone says to you. Restate what they have said and what it makes you think they meant. Confirm why they are asking that question. The easiest way to avoid making incorrect assumptions is to dig a little deeper so everyone understands each other more fully.
I do believe media is playing a very large role in why we all seem much more quick to defense lately. The prevalance of police dramas on TV is an easy quick example. Another is the use of "sound bites" to take words out of context, which had a profound impact on recent political situations involving virtually every affiliated party. Then there is the professional sports effect, wherein one single comment or misdeed is forever associated with a person. Even if the situation is resolved and the accused party is found innocent, our society nowadays will forever more remember those people as the criminals they were proven NOT to be.
Be sure to think and act for yourself. Rely on your inner voice, or a higher power (for those believers out there) rather than trusting limited information. And ask questions! Ask lots of questions! And question the answers you receive, even if they are from "credible" sources. And, in general, trust that most people around you are hoping to see you succeed rather than fail. There is too much good in the world to allow those petty few who live by snap judgements, to keep you from whatever worthy goal you aspire to.
Song Of The Day:
Today's song is on the theme of misunderstanding the meaning of words. Country music has hundreds of song titles that seem to suggest one kind of emotion or reaction, but as you listen to the actual words of the song you realize it means something totally different. "(I Don't Love You) Anymore" by Travis Tritt, is an oldie (for me anyway) but a goodie. Listen to the words are realize that this is, in fact, a very tender love song.