A girl had two apples in her hand. Her mother came to her and asked her daughter if she could give her an apple.
Quickly the girl bit one and then the other. Her mother felt her smile froze and tried not to show her disappointment. After that moment, she gave her one of those apples while saying: “Here, Mom, this is the sweeter of the two.”
This short story illustrates the consequences of assuming without having any basis for doing so. We can go so far as to judge a girl who, in her innocence and good will, was driving her intentions in the most touching way there is.
Often what we see is not reality. In fact, our experience or our knowledge really matters little. We should not make judgments and we always have to give the other person the opportunity to give an explanation.
The danger of hasty conclusions
Prejudging situations and people’s behavior carries great risk of disappointment. The truth is that he who expects gets disappointed. It’s impossible to escape our expectations; but we should learn to manage them.
Sometimes our feelings prevent us from seeing the lack of evidence that is blinding our judgment. When this happens we must take some time to regain perspective. We must drink from different sources of information, which will help us appreciate more fairly what is happening.
The value of apologies
Sometimes we are too proud when we are wrong and unfair to others. Usually it is difficult for us to recognize that we’ve been wrong and, furthermore, that our error was caused by our erroneous perceptions.
This can lead to damaged relationships. So, if for example the mother from our story had gotten angry and scolded her daughter, one of the expected reactions of the girl could have been to not give any apples to her mother.
The most serious direct consequence of misjudging others is that it can prevent us from realizing our mistakes and from apologizing.
When this happens we often fall into the trap of resentment. How many times have we not apologized when we should have? And in turn, how many times have waited for an explanation or a word of apology from someone who hurt us with their prejudices?
Certainly various situations come to mind. In fact, we have probably lost too much at the expense of our assumptions and those of others. Thus the triumph of our pride stands as a big loss for us.