"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." - Napoleon Bonaparte
I love this quote. It has set me free.
Allow me to explain.... I was raised mainly by my grandmother, who took everything - and I mean everything - personally. I always knew I didn't want to end up that way - for so many reasons!
When I first heard the above quote, I thought only of the word incompetence as it is defined: "the inability to perform; lack of competence; ineptitude." Then I realized it could mean so much more. What if I expanded the meaning in my own thoughts to include honest mistakes, unknowing errors, people merely having their own agendas or not thinking of anything but themselves when they did something that affected me or my family?
So...that person who cuts people off on the freeway? Not personal at all; just trying to get to where they're going without thought of anything else. The insurance company person who doesn't want to deal with a claim? Not personal; just wanting to get home or to lunch, or tired and burned out. The company that screws up an order over and over and over again? Nothing to take personally. The friend who doesn't ever call back? Overwhelmed by things in her own life. All of the little annoyances and needless hurts in daily life? Released. Gone. Part of the workings of many lives that meet and intertwine, and then go their own ways.
Which got me thinking again, of course. :) This time about how much we affect each other in our daily lives without ever meaning to. Now I try even harder to think about and live by the Golden Rule. Because who among us wouldn't feel buoyed by the smile of a stranger or a little politeness where it isn't necessarily expected? Especially this time of year! So, today when I go out to do errands among the throngs of other holiday shoppers, I will be remembering to try a few extra smiles, even when I am cranky and annoyed, and feel that a well-placed elbow would solve a lot of my problems. And I will be marveling again and again at my younger son, The Bear - our little goodwill ambassador - who somehow seems to know all this stuff innately, whereas I have always struggled with it.
Happy holidays everyone!
Labels: Monday's Musing