“No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.” -Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor, author, neurologist and psychiatrist. (Seen in Wordsmith.org’s A.Word.A.Day by Anu Garg)
I’d update the idea to include both genders but agree with Mr. Frankl’s comment. When someone does something rude or unthinking in traffic, or when a child or teenager does something that brings up anger in me, or any number of other things that people have done over which I’ve felt anger, I’ve often asked myself “Have I ever done that or would I have done it if I’d led the life they’ve led or was having the kind of day they may be having?”
Asking myself those questions often allows me to quickly calm down and get on with my life rather than holding onto the anger. In that way their actions no longer control my reaction, mood, attitude, view of others, or how my day is going.
Plus, I’m able to be more empathetic to the other person. I don’t have to like what they did, but I can better understand why they might have done it, and forgive them for it.
It also makes it easier to forgive myself for having done such things in the past or if I do them in the future. Self-empathy can be a wonderful thing too! (I don’t know if “self-empathy” is a real word, but I like it and that’s good enough for me! ;-D!
I hope your day brings a lot of good surprises to you.