There are moments when we all become someone else. Something other than what we are. It takes only a moment. But we spend the rest of our lives looking back at that moment in shame. For one instant, out of a lifetime of service, he became his own worst instincts. — Delenn, “Objects at Rest” (Babylon 5, Season 5, Episode 22. Written by J. Michael Straczynski)
There are times in our lives when, because of hurt, or immaturity, or anger, or any other strong emotion, we do things that completely alter the way others see us. At those moments, we reveal the very worst part of ourselves, the part we choose never to show. (Bloggers have documented evidence of these moments, usually because of hitting “Publish” too early.) Some call this “the true self,” but I do not subscribe to that. We are more than the worst of ourselves, more than what we reveal during times of great emotion. The actions we take then are choices we make once, but for which consequences can last a lifetime, especially when they involve others. And sometimes, the very worst of these, happen due to misunderstandings brought about by one simple fact: that to every story there are three sides: your side, their side, and the truth.
How much different would our lives be if we sought wholeheartedly to understand others, to empathize with them, and to treat them not as we would treat ourselves, but as we would treat those we thought heroes? What if we were to take time to seek the truth, rather than assume we have it? This is not to say there isn’t wrong in the world, nor that people don’t purposely seek to do evil. But if we remember that these are the exceptions, rather than the rules, we would likely be very forgiving: after all, we judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions.