assume good will

I love this way of thinking. Assume good will. It means to see the good in someone and believe that what the person said or did was done with good intentions. I find it hard to always assume good will, especially when from my perspective, it’s a challenge to see it another way or that the person could have been coming from a good place. I find this approach to be a humbling one because it provides me the opportunity to learn from others, hear their stories, and accept the fact that my way of thinking is not the only way. A simple example to share was when my friend cancelled on our get together last minute as I was driving to her place. She shared something had come up and that she couldn’t make it anymore. (This person was more of an acquaintance so I didn’t push further). I just said okay and hung up. Naturally, I thought it was peculiar and rude to have something come up that last minute. What could it possibly be? I assumed bad will. Had I assumed good will, I believe I would have spent less time judging her actions and more time having grace in the situation and hoping that truly she was okay. It turns out that she was expecting and it wasn’t public news yet! Again, who would have thought?! I encourage you to assume good will of others because we don’t know where they are coming from. We each meet each other 1-on-1 from different upbringings, life experiences, educational backgrounds, and personalities. If we inquire and acknowledge that we do not have all the information at the time, it may save us time and energy from thinking ill of someone. However, do keep in mind that there are exceptions and not everyone is coming from a place of good will, but rather has ill intentions and an unkind heart. You will need to use discernment in those cases.

Have you heard about this approach before? Have you employed this perspective and were glad you did?

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About Reaksmey

hi :) i'm reaksmey (reeks-may) and I love to think, reflect, and grow. do you? my life includes a handsome husband and a lively infant. here's where i write about how i grow through life's ups and downs so that i can humbly encourage you daily.
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2 Responses to assume good will

  1. Astrid says:

    I love this post, Reaksmey. I definitely shared the sentiment of immediately wondering what the person’s motivation is in doing an action that to me would seem inconsiderate. I used to assume bad will, too. For me, I don’t know that my solution was to assume good will/good intentions as I don’t feel like I’m in a place to determine bad or good in either case. What I assume is “no will”. For the most part, as it should be, we are consequences of others’ actions, and not the intentions of others. The end result is still that the action we had hoped for, didn’t come through. This is evident at least in dating relationships where because I have chosen to be exclusive with a person (my intention), I needed to end all other romantic based relationships with other men (consequence). However, when I present this to the “other men” their main question was, “why not me?”, implying that I had intended for this to happen. It’s sad when we feel like we should be a person’s intention and somehow that had failed. For me accepting that I am not and should not be the intention for others actions has helped me to cope with the disappointing outcomes.

    Reaksmey Reply:

    I think you bring up an interesting point from a different perspective. What does other people think? My perspective is when you deliver the “I am not going to be exclusive with you,” the assuming good will from the other person would be that you have found someone else and are courteous enough to let them know. When they ask, “why not me?” that carries the conversation pass the good/bad/no will phase, right?

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