Recently – I got into an argument with someone. I felt like I was being disrespected. Turns out – they felt I was disrespecting them. We were both feeling disrespected – and acted accordingly. Both of us were wrong.

I teach this stuff – and I sometimes fail at it. I give trainings on this to work groups – filled with good people, all thinking they are the aggrieved party and the other person is to blame.

This is a perception problem. You are experiencing what you experience and it is rare for us to consider how the other people are experiencing us. After all, our experiences and responses are valid – aren’t they?

Yes and no. Your experience is distorted through your perception. One of the reasons I encourage people to view the person they are upset with – with compassion – is to help correct this perception problem.  The other person isn’t a monster. They most likely aren’t out to get you – though it does happen on occasion. Most likely – they are just a person like you – doing the best they can – under difficult circumstances.  Youi may find that when you treat them with dignity and respect, they reciprocate.

And, if it turns out they are a monster, your treating them respectful will reflect positively back on you by everyone else who witnesses it.

A wise woman once said, what we need is knowledge, caring and sharing. When you find yourself outraged about how you think someone is treating you with disrespect, step back. Consider the possibility that what you think they are doing and why you think they are doing it – is probably wrong.

And if you can’t do that – behave respectfully anyway – as it will help you control your response to the situation and this in turn will allow you to control they dynamic that is playing out.