Melvyn Tan
December 1, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

Giving Others The Benefit Of The Doubt

[blockquote source=”1 John 2:9-11 (NLT)“]If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still […]

[blockquote source=”1 John 2:9-11 (NLT)“]If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves another brother or sister is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates another brother or sister is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.[/blockquote]

Picture This…
Imagine working for a boss who demands that everything pass through his hands before you send anything out, even emails to clients. Imagine having to comply with the endless, and sometimes mindless, rules and policies that makes you wonder if your creativity is valued. Imagine reporting to your boss every single task, meeting, conversation you have with a prospect or client because “he needs to know exactly what went on (or wrong)”.

Imagine that
You’d probably think that the boss is a control freak and does not trust anyone. If you thought that way, you are right. And that’s exactly how I was if you’d worked with me during the period 2002-2005.

Reasons for Being a Control Freak
The reason for those behaviors (and insecurities) was because of the episode that I’ve had when I was working with the dot-com company from 1999-2002. I trusted the person who recruited me so much that I pretty much told him almost everything about myself, only to have him not only abuse my trust but also preyed on my pride. At that moment, I blamed him and everything that he did. I was sore and felt cheated of the best years of my life.

As a result of this, the mental model was this: if you trust someone too much, you’d get hurt. So what would you do? Of course, you set up a barrier and that becomes your view of the world and that would be how you’d operate.

If you knew about this background, how would you feel about me now? I’d think that most people would understand why I behaved that way. I said “understand”, doesn’t mean you’d agree with my actions but at least you’d understand. However, there’s no way you’d find out about this because, remember, I do not trust you. In fact, the person that I really do not trust is myself. Because I once trusted my judgemental of another person and decided to trust in him, only to have things turned against me and hence proved to myself that I really shouldn’t have trusted myself.

Most Visible & Least Visible
I want to relate this personal experience to help us understand, as well as to remind myself, the concept of “least visible” and “most visible”. Every person has a “least visible” and a “most visible” part of him. My actions of distrust and being a control freak are “most visible”. These are the behaviors that you’d see if you worked with me. However, what you don’t see, “least visible”, are the pain and frustration brought about from the experience. Why “least visible” and not “not visible” is that if you took time to examine the behaviors closely, you might be able to guess what’s the cause of it.

Two Worlds
Tony Robbins said that for every human being we have two worlds. The internal world and the external world. When both worlds are aligned, that’s when we’d be happy. But when those two worlds are not aligned, that’s when we get upset. And as human beings, it is our innate need to want to see alignment. For instance, because of my internal world, which is “least visible” to others, it resulted in a range of behaviors that I’d manifest in the external world, “most visible”. And I’d strive to have my external world be aligned to my internal world. That’s why for people who have deep insecurities, externally they would always want to control others.

However, because all you’d see is the external world, which is “most visible”, hence you’d in turn try to reconcile the behaviors with your own internal world, which is “least visible” to me.

So why would we hate another person? For the record, I hated that person for a good while. But after sometime, I recognized that the more I hated him, the more I’m giving him control of my life even though I no longer worked with him. And besides, I need to trust myself again, if anything.

Benefit of the Doubt
Brothers and sisters, we all have our stories, our past experiences, our wounds. But so does everyone else. The first thing we can do for each other is to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. I think we’d all appreciate it. The second thing is to be able to empathize with the other person. Try seeing things from their internal world. The third thing is to love one another and help each other break free from those stories, those past experiences, those wounds that created the bondage. And the most important thing of all is to always remember that we are all children of God and that although we are all traveling on different paths, we’re all headed for the same destination.

Prayer
Father we ask for You to empower us to forgive one another like how You forgave us. LORD, we ask that You guide us in helping our fellow brothers and sisters break free from their bondage and to walk in the light. We pray all these in Jesus name, Amen.