Admit it you have asked yourself the Title question…someone makes a mistake, acts in a way you would never dream of acting and our natural reaction is to think “why are all these people acting crazy? (stupid, lazy, irresponsible etc.)
When I find myself overwhelmed by what I perceive to be “everyone else’s” craziness, I know it is time to stop and ask myself what I am attracting in terms of lessons. After all chances are whatever I found so repulsive in someone else is likely a reflection of my own potential to act just as “stupidly”.
Studies have demonstrated a common trap in our social relationships that cause even the smartest and most socially savvy people to make false judgments leaving their own flaws out of the picture when reacting to others.
The Fundamental Attribution Error. Also called the False Attribution Bias, coined by social psychologist Lee Ross, describes a common phenomenon in which an individual is likely to attribute unwanted behavior in another to personality while excusing the same behavior in themselves as situation dependent.
What does this mean? In practical terms, this is the reason you may be likely to judge a co-worker struggling through a rough patch in their personal life as “lazy” or “out of control” when their problems leak into the office, while forgetting, or justifying that you also have had your share of bad days at work which were not due to laziness, but to “genuine” stress. It is the natural tendency for people to cite outside circumstances (divorce, childcare issues, illness etc.) as the cause for their own behavior (excessive absences, tardiness, low productivity) while seeing the same behavior in a peer as being the result of undesirable personality traits.
This phenomenon is so common, especially in individualistic societies, that most people will go their entire lives not knowing just how often we make these judgments. The cost of this tendency can range from tension to misunderstanding to lost relationships.
Whether at work or at home, falling prey to this bias in thinking robs us of a chance to understand others and resolve conflict in relationships.
By faulting the individual rather than acknowledging underlying circumstances, the chance to forge important and rewarding connections to others is missed.
Next time you are tempted to categorize the behavior of another as being the product of personality, challenge yourself to recall if you have ever exhibited the same behavior. By recalling what factors lead you to make the same mistake as another, you are building empathy and building bridges.
Taking this understanding into the world of Attraction and Energy, we can ask ourselves “why am I suddenly attracting situations in which I perceive others as Stupid, lazy, crazy etc?”
By reflecting on the common feelings and circumstances that create the behavior we do not like, we can understand our common connection to others and the depths of our Shadow side which may, under the same circumstances, act just as undesirably.
Learn more about who you are attracting and why. Join me Sunday 2/22 at Cafe NOLA for a presentation on Love Triangles and learn the secrets to relationship success.