Making assumptions about what’s inside someone

People don’t change, their hearts just open more. 

And although each person has their own speed limit, in the end, it’s only a matter of time before the empathy train catches up with them. 

Once I turned thirty, I started to find myself more able to appreciate the people and experiences and situations that were part of my life history. 

Especially the ones that caused me pain and suffering. 

Because I finally had the emotional toolkit to understand my own memories through the point of view of others. I recognized that, at the time, everybody was fighting their own battle that I knew nothing about. 

And so, for the bully who harassed me and the girlfriend who cheated on me and the friend who abandoned me, odds are, that person was acting out of their own state of fear and worry and hurt. It had nothing to do with me. 

Forgive them, lord, for they know not what they do. 

Literally, that’s what happens when people feel their survival is threatened. They hurt others. But they don’t think when they do it, they just lash out. They know not what they do. 

It’s interesting, we spend much of our time making assumptions about what’s inside someone, but we have exactly zero way of knowing what their experience is. All the more reason to meet our bad memories with mercy. 

Seligman’s positive psychology research actually found that this process, rewriting history through forgiveness, can loosen the power of the negative events to embitter us and can transform bad memories into good ones. 

It’s simply a matter of framing. 

And so, if you still haven’t forgiven somebody who slighted you twenty years ago, you’re the loser. Because that person is renting free space in your head. And you’re still clinging onto blame to make sense of the story of your life. 

Remember, the first beneficiary of opening your heart is yourself. It’s vulnerable, but it’s also valuable. 

Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free, and then finding out that you were the one who was locked up.


How has your heart opened in the past year?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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