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The Power of Asking ‘What If They Are Suffering?’

Illustration of masked figures in a crowd.
Image: Ada daSilva/Getty Images

Whenever my instinct is to assume the worst—say, a driver cuts me off on the road or a friend takes three days to respond to my text even though I know she’s read my hilarious meme—it helps me to ask myself: What if the person is trying their best? When I believe they are, I stay out of judgment and my mind stops making up unhelpful stories that likely aren’t true.

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Michelle Woo

Michelle Woo

Author of Horizontal Parenting: How to Entertain Your Kid While Lying Down (Chronicle Books)