Have you ever looked at someone else's behavior and thought that it made no sense at all? Did your confusion over their reasoning lead you to criticize them? Did your criticism lead to conflict?
If you have ever gone down this path to conflict, I can certainly understand. I have done it, too.
I used to wonder why so many people did things that just did not make sense. Sometimes, this line of thinking led me to “help” the other person by attempting to “correct” their thinking.
This approach did not help them or me in very many situations.
So, I started to keep my mouth shut and carry my frustration with them inside. I found that this internal frustration with others also led to conflict in many situations.
Then, I learned something really powerful: everything that everyone does makes sense – to them.
From an innocent two-year old child to a serial killer, everyone's words and actions make sense to them. In their view of the world, it makes sense. From their perspective, what they did or said made perfect sense at the time.
People might later reflect on their behaviors and wonder what they were thinking when they did or said something. Still, at the time they did or said it, it made sense to them.
Since learning this idea, I have learned a number of behavior models, communication strategies, and interaction processes to help me better understand other people's perspectives. As I have learned these additional concepts, I have also learned to make sense of their words and actions even when their words and actions are completely different from my normal reaction.
While I have learned many tools to help me in this area, the real path to lower frustration and conflict with others began when I realized that everything other people do makes sense to them.