“I’ll take your word for it”, how many times have you stated this, or mentally agreed to it, only to regret it later? Oh, you’ll take their word for it all right, even when evidence shows up that challenges their explanation. Am I missing something here? Just cause you want to see the good in someone, doesn’t mean it actually exists! Granted the respectable thing to do is to count that a person is telling the truth, however the righteous path is not always the best when it comes to the ‘benefit of the doubt’. And like anything else the ‘benefit of the doubt’ has its drawbacks, and if you’re like me you’ve given people way too much leeway.
Let me it make clear, I’m not approaching this topic from a place of skepticism or suspicion of others. As a matter of fact, the ‘benefit of the doubt’ can be in your best interest, since you wouldn’t want to make assumptions or accuse anyone, which ends up making you look like an ass. However, we’ve become too accustomed to giving everyone a free pass even when we shouldn’t, and I’ve been guilty of this too. As you know, I’m all about a positive outlook, so I have this mental radar that seeks to only magnify the good in people, and this is the very thing that trips me up. I’ve created blind spots that have impaired my judgment, to the point of overlooking and excusing all sorts of behavior.
As long as in the beginning you were a pleasant and charming person, I found it hard to believe that the person I met wasn’t actually who I perceived them to be. As a result, down the line when the individual’s actions start to contradict my mental image, I would grasp onto the image to the point of denial. It sounds silly, but I couldn’t erase the image that had initially embedded in my mind. You see; this is where most of us go wrong.
Many people are apprehensive about casting doubt upon others, as if casting doubt makes you a bad person. When given enough conflicting evidence, there’s no other option but to believe you’re being deceived. However, this does stop us from giving one too many chances, and setting ourselves up for betrayal. By all means, I’m not that suggesting you become paranoid and seek to find problems, but how many times will you allow a person to show themselves before you believe them? What it boils down to is this; we don’t want the truth we rather live in our own self-deception, yet if we continue to deny the truth we’ll be forced to face it at some point. Now, there are obvious situations where the benefit of the doubt is just not an option. Nonetheless, it’s our responsibility to decide when, and how much leeway we’re willing to give, but most importantly we have to be selective about it.
As I can guess, you’re probably wondering how to determine when to offer the “benefit of the doubt’, and there’s no solid answer to this. However, you might find the answer from a place you’re least likely to consult. It’s in our ability to use our internal compass and discernment, is where we’ll find the answer. This requires us to see people as they are, and not as how we want them to be. Personally, I’ve become more selective about who I’m willing to let slip by, and how much elbow room I’m willing to give before I’ll severe the ties with them. I know my limit, and everyone should know their’s too. Overall this famous quote from Maya Angelou sums it all up:
When people show you who they are, believe them. –Maya Angelou
Are you the type of person who easily gives people the benefit of the doubt, or are you reluctant to? Why? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Shawna Kay ( Blissed Out Belle )
Kay is a Lifestyle & Empowerment Enthusiast, and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blissed Out Belle™. Connect with her on Facebook here, and follow her on Twitter @BlissedOutBelle .