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When we say we know what others think, or would think, about something we have done or are about to do, we are mistaken.

We are mistaken because we never know what another person is thinking unless they tell us. One way of getting them to tell us is to ask them, but even then, THEY might be mistaken.

They might be mistaken because people often don’t really know what they think about something until they have reflected on it. Their immediate first response may not be accurate. Or, fearing rejection or retaliation, or to spare our feelings, they may not want to tell us. Then again, they may simply lie, for reasons of their own.

So, is assuming we can read other peoples’ minds or predict their thoughts a waste of time? We have to be sensitive to others, and empathy is all about anticipating another’s feelings. But feelings are not thoughts, they are different.

Rather than pretending you know what others think, it might be easier to guess at their feelings, and come to think of it, that might be a more useful course of action.

What do you think?

3 Responses to “Never Mind What Others Think”

  1. I think we imagine what others think about us by judging ourselves in a harsher way, we focus on our insecurities and worries and expect others to be thinking the exact same way. But you’re right, we would never know what another is thinking, completely. If we are not certain on our decisions then maybe we should rethink them anyway, but if we are then why waste our time thinking about others, it is our own life’s we lead and our own regrets in the end

  2. I am guilty of doing this and yes, I think you are right…Since I’ve become braver in life if I am overly concerned about what people are thinking I now just ask. Sometimes I don’t like the answers but I feel that I am getting honest answers this way and most times it opens up the way to more honest dialogue and better communication. Plus, I no longer worry as much about what others think of me unless my behavior is truly hurting them.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to comment. You are right that judgu=ing ourselves in relation to others, rather than from our own values etc, can be a problem.

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