Ignorance, not malice

Imagine someone in your family has passed away and a work colleague makes an inappropriate comment. You can get annoyed at them and speculate about why they’d say such a thing at such a time. You could remember that they’ve acted weird to you ever since you took on that new project. That they’re warm and nice to everyone else, but frosty with you. You can see that comment as an extension of those feelings, a reveal of their dislike of you. As something said deliberately and maliciously, with an intention to offend and hurt.

Or you can see it for what it is ninety percent of the time: a blunder. A mistake. Simply someone using their mouth without consulting their brain. 

Three words that help you to hold onto this idea: ignorance, not malice

For the most part, whenever anybody—you included—does something that hurts or damages another, it’s an accident. You simply didn’t think that your words or actions would have such an effect or be interpreted in such a way. But as narrators to the story of our own lives, it’s easy to tint every happening with a rationale connected to us. Whereas in reality, most things have nothing to do with us. Most things are done for no real reason. With no real intention or strategy. They just happen and then we take them personally, as if the world and the people in it are concerned only with provoking reactions from us. 

Well, they’re not. Most people act out of ignorance, not malice. So stop trying to read between the lines and untangle complex motives. There aren’t any. People do and say stupid things. It’s nothing personal. They’re just human. And so are you.