When it comes to people, you basically have two options: You can think the best of people, or You can think the worst of people.
I would argue that people generally think the worst of people. Why? Look around.
It seems like everyone thinks the politicians on the other side of the aisle are out to ruin their lives and the country. You can say one, well meaning statement and people somehow take it as a personal attack. If someone disagrees with you, it's natural to begin to not just disagree on an issue but to see them as a terrible person.
This isn't how society should work. How miserable is it to live life knowing that people will take your words out of context, or misconstrue them, or judge your character on one belief without getting to know you, or excuse hate because the media and their disagreements justify it.
On the other end of the spectrum is seeing the best in people.
This is the harder path to take. Why?
It requires getting over yourself. It requires not putting yourself over others but putting others over yourself. It requires being driven by trust instead of emotion. It requires letting yourself be a little vulnerable.
But in the end, we are all better off because of it. We're not constantly looking over our shoulders. We're not afraid of people being out to get us. We're not scared to say what we believe in fear of people looking at us differently. We're not worried about our words being misconstrued.
We are able to to "live peaceably with one another as long as it depends on you," as Paul would say.
And it does depend on you. It all starts with you.
It starts with you trusting people. It starts with you putting those initial negative thoughts aside and saying, "Maybe they meant well", "Maybe they just used the wrong word", "Maybe I don't understand where they're coming from."
Because if we can all start there, we create an opportunity to understand each other better.
A world full of understanding creates space for love. And love creates a space for peace.
And all of us could use a little more peace in our lives.