What would happen if you deliberately set out to assume the best about people?
What would it be like to assume that their motives and intentions are positive? What if you decided to think and act as if the people you care about, genuinely care about you? What changes might it lead to?
Sound ridiculous? Of course your friends and family care about you, of course you assume the best about them. Or do you? Do you ever mutter to yourself about the "lazy " flat mate who leaves the dishes to you yet again? Does the " ungrateful " teenager ring any bells? Or the "selfish" partner, late for their turn to mind the kids?
When your over protective parents "spoil your fun" or your demanding toddler "sabotages" your phone calls it's time to take stock of your attitude. Are these the best assumptions you can make? They don't allow the other party a lot of credit. They don't lift your spirits any, and they probably aren't doing much to help your relationships.
But do you really need to be feeling bad? Are those feelings stemming from someone's actions, or are you feeling lousy because you've jumped to some unhappy conclusions?
Sometimes a bit of a reality check is useful. The most negative assumptions are not necessarily the most likely, they're just the most cynical. If your partner is late, they might be selfishly neglecting you and the kids. On the other hand they might be stuck in traffic worrying about being late.
If you assume your late partner is selfish, you feel resentful and hurt. You and the kids have a miserable time. When your partner does arrive you squabble or sulk or you get frosty with each other. Now all of you are miserable.
Purposefully grounding your assumptions in goodwill can transform your relationships. If you assume your partner is delayed for good reason, you might be concerned for their well being, you might be disappointed or frustrated about needing to change your plans, but you're not furious or miserable, and nor are the kids.
When your partner arrives you're willing to listen to their explanation. That means you probably get an apology and some acknowledgement of the inconvenience you've experienced. You all feel okay about each other and you can quickly move on.
If this becomes the typical way you deal with things in this relationship, then your partner doesn't arrive expecting an earful. They haven't got tense or fearful or self-righteous in advance because they are confident of your good will.
Generous good will is one of the most effective stress reduction strategies you can use in any relationship. It avoids unnecessary arguments and bad feeling. It develops your ability to see the positive intent in those around you. That encourages people to act on their positive intentions with you. Your generosity invites a generous response.
If you want to develop positive trusting and generous relationships, then exercising your good will in an excellent place to begin.