Imagine if people always presented to you the best version of themselves. Imagine that’s who you assumed would arrive.
I’ve been taking an online course through Lifeways North America for caregivers of children from birth through seven years old. I have enjoyed it thoroughly and today’s discussion really impacted me.
We were discussing children who may challenge us, and how we approach these children each day. Rather than bracing for the worst behavior, maybe we could spin things by meeting that child each morning with the assumption that we will be greeted by their best selves.
How much do our expectations about a child’s behavior actually impact their behavior?
Which begged the question – how much of what we see when we interact with other adults is based upon assumptions we have made about how those interactions will go?
I consider myself to be a compassionate person. Whenever I have someone in my life whose behavior (or general demeanor) is unpleasant, I usually wonder – What’s it like to be her/him? I think about how uncomfortable it must be to carry so much stress, anxiety or anger…and it usually softens me to them. That being said, I still may not look forward to interacting with that person.
What if, rather than assuming that a person will behave the same way they always have…and bracing myself for it…
What if I assume that I will be greeted by that person’s highest self? The best possible version of them? What if I carry that assumption instead?
Could my expectation of their behavior actually change their behavior?
Could it change what I choose to notice about their behavior?
Certainly something to ponder.