Your action, my reaction
Written by: Chereen
Countless times, I have used perspective to help me understand the behavior of others. When something goes terribly wrong or when something goes incredibly right, I want to know what is going through the other person’s mind. I want to see through their eyes. What is it that guides them to behave a certain way? Do they think about consequences before they take actions that–intentionally or unintentionally–hurt others?
This thought process has tired me. It has stretched my sensitivity and empathy to untouched limits. It has provoked my curiosity and my desire to care far more than I thought possible. I have worn too many shoes. I think it is time to give them back and wear my own–at least for the time being.
Perspective is essential, but sometimes all a person is left with is assumptions. One can assume that someone did something with negligence, but they never really know until they ask. A person can wonder why someone they adore disappeared or why they hurt them so badly, but they will never know the truth until they ask. Even then, sometimes the answers do not offer clarity. Sometimes people act without thinking, and when a person does so, there are no answers to explain why. There are no words to justify their actions. There are only feelings upon feelings.
These feelings come for a reason. Maybe instead of wondering why a person acts the way that they do, it is better to focus on how their actions cause feelings, and what these feelings mean. I have come to learn that a person acts for a reason, and my reaction is the lesson I am meant to learn. The way that I react tells me how much growth I have yet to do, and what I take from the situation is the knowledge I have been given as a gift.
I can sit and wonder why people act a certain way, and why hearts change. Certainly, I can do that while in my therapist chair, and it would be completely appropriate. But outside of that, I cannot always do that. I should not always do that. I have learned to leave people’s actions to God. I now know that I should focus on my reaction. They will be judged and so will I. I should give 70 excuses before judging someone. I might wear the shoes if they fit, because I simply cannot help but care more than I should. But for the most part, the shoes that I will wear will be my own.