Giving the Benefit

16 Aug

We base our conclusions on many things. If we’re wise, we will be careful to base them on fact. Unfortunately, there are times when we make conclusions based on a situation, an impression, or hearsay. Sometimes those conclusions are right, but sometimes we’re way off the mark. When we interact with others it’s best to use facts when trying to understand what is happening. If we jump to a conclusion based on something we think we see, something we think happened, or something someone else said, we may be completely wrong. If we have doubts, we can give the benefit of the doubt before we decide to judge. If we do that, and things change we can adjust our perception. However, if we’ve already tried and convicted before the facts are known, it’s much harder to clean up the mess we’ve left in our wake.

Giving the benefit of the doubt means to withhold judgment on anything until all the facts are known. We wait before we assume anything, and allow ourselves to believe that the other party is innocent unless the facts show otherwise. If we wait until the entire story is revealed, sometimes we find that our first impressions were incorrect. Giving the benefit of the doubt increases harmony, and helps to build trust. If those around us know we won’t jump, and convict them before they’ve had a chance to explain, they’ll trust us to be there and listen.

We might be in a situation where we’ve been hurt because someone determined we had erred, or failed, or in some way done something wrong before we had a chance to defend our decisions. When that happens, we feel frustrated and unfairly persecuted. Everyone deserves to tell their story. If it’s assumed that we’ve chosen the wrong path before we can even explain, we may feel beset and hopeless. We might decide there is no point in even trying because decisions about us have already been made. But we have the right to speak up, and we can state our case clearly, and without reservation. Our story is ours to tell, and even if conclusions have already been made about us, we have the right to tell it. We can stand up for ourselves and be strong.

Today if something goes awry and you’re sure someone has done something wrong, wait and give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t conclude anything until you get all the facts. If someone else has made an assumption about you that isn’t right, be courageous, and state your case clearly. We all deserve the benefit of the doubt. Today, give it, and make sure you get it. Listen and go forward with confidence. Be fair in all your dealings, and there is a better chance that others will be fair with you.

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