A few weeks ago, my Mom and I went to see the musical Wicked when it was here in Calgary.
From the opening song to the closing curtain, I was entranced. It was fantastic.
Basically, Wicked is the prequel to the Wizard of Oz. It tells the story of how the Wicked Witch and Glinda came to be, and how the Scarecrow, Lion and Tinman all came to meet with Dorothy. One of the things that makes the story so wonderful is the hidden pieces, complicated history's and bizarre happenings that bring all of the characters to the story we all know.
In case you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it for you; suffice to say, it really made me think: what if all is not as it seems? What if we go around making decisions, judging people and situations, without knowing the full story? Based not on reality, but on our perception - one little piece, our viewpoint in to the situation - but that usually doesn't tell it all.
So, a loved one gets upset with you over something that's normally insignificant; the reality is, they've had a really tragically bad day and this small situation puts them right over the edge.
A driver goes just under the speed limit in front of you, and all you can see is that she's making you late for work; her reality is a nasty accident 6 months ago that she can't quite shake the memory of.
Your co-worker doesn't follow through as promised, leading to you not delivering on a project; all she can think of is her parent, recently admitted to hospital for symptoms that seem life threatening.
Nothing is easy about these situations - not the side you're on, and not the other. And the reality isn't that we should let other people do whatever they want just because they're having a bad day or struggling with old memories. Rather, by understanding where others are coming from, or accepting that we may never know and still choosing to perceive and judge them kindly, we can all be happier in our own skin, and more loving to each other.
Personally, I'm committing to trying to see the other perspective sometimes; and when I can't, to simply not judge. What about you?