"Eyes that look are common, eyes that see are rare" J.Oswald Sanders
I first heard this quote when I ran my first business. Then it meant that many people would look at the opportunity I had to offer but only a few would 'see' it for what it was. The majority couldn't see past their fear of failure, fear of success or other people's judgment.
I still use this quote but now in a different context. It's common when we experience someone else directing there anger, frustration or guilt towards us, for us to take their words to heart, to absorb the negative energy and allow it to create a reaction in us.
Instead of like Taylor Swift says in the song 'You need to calm down' asking "Are you ok?"
Because my opinion is that most people's anger, frustration or any negative behavior is more about what they are feeling inside about themselves and their situation than it is about you. Imagine if when our partners bark at us for no reason or a shop assistant is rude to us that instead of reacting to the words said we just said: "Are you ok?"
I have tried this, I experimented with this theory and what I found was that this question was mostly followed by an "I'm sorry, I'm tired, I didn't sleep well because....." or something similar showing a window into the other person's state.
This doesn't excuse the behavior but what it does do is allows us not to absorb it and pass it on. Because if we absorb someone else's shit we inevitably end up passing it on to our partner, kids, parents which makes us no different from the person we are moaning about.
Is this always easy? No, we are bloody human, all trying our best to thrive and believe me I sometimes still get offended and upset at someone's remark, in the moment, but it never lasts long. Once the red mist has dissipated (I'm exaggerating) instead of going over what they said and how they said it and making it mean what I decide suits my argument I simply wonder what must be going on for them to behave that way and if I care enough about them. I ask.
My point is is that how many times have you actually meant what you have said in a moment of anger? I mean really meant it. So if you don't mean most things you say in the heat of the moment why do we assume other people do? Instead of using their words against them to get one up and make them feel guilty we just assume they have some shit going on, decide to not make the matter worse and just ask if they are ok.
The result is less stress, less anguish, better communication, and overall a higher emotional intelligence. Its a more peaceful place to be. The skill is being aware enough to be able to pause before reacting! It takes practice but it's worth it.