What's the premise behind our behavior?

Do you understand why people do, say, and believe the things they do?  When you begin to understand the why, you are able to have more empathy, compassion, and understanding for others- even for things that previously seemed incomprehensible.  Really grasping this concept has caused a huge shift for me personally in therapeutic settings, coaching, and in relationships.  

Less frustration=greater understanding
Greater understanding= increased tolerance for different opinions
Increased tolerace= more peace; both within yourself and in the world

Here's an excellent lesson from Michael Neill on how this works:

"Given the thinking they have that looks real to them, nobody acts nutty.  Like it makes perfect sense.  Look, if giant purple elephants are coming out of the walls at me, I'm going to cower in a corner and scream, and wear a tinfoil hat, or whatever else I think is going to stop them.  That is not nuts.

Now, it's not true, that those things are happening outside of my head, so the premise is inaccurate.  But within the premise, that behavior is as sane as it gets.  There is no crazy behavior if you understand the premise.  

That's innocence.  That is psychological innocence as far as it looks to me.  That is why everything can be forgiven. Because literally, everything makes perfect sense given the thinking people have that looks real to them.  Given the world that they've made up that they don't know they've made up that they're living inside of. Given the premises, the givens, that they're operating inside of.  

And when it looks different, you'll do different.  Guaranteed.  You can't not."

Start understanding the premise behind what people do instead of looking at their actions/behaviors and notice how this shifts your own relationships and interactions from guarded to curious.  From hostile to contemplative.

(P.S. If your hackles get raised at the idea that everything can be forgiven, remember that we forgive for our own mental health and not to excuse the other person's behavior.  "Understand that resentment is the most potent poison generated in the human body.  It causes physical and spiritual wreckage if allowed to boil within."  -Ann Carroll)  

If you'd like to listen to the rest of Michael Neill's talk for more context, here's the link:

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