People Go Through Lots, It Helps to Listen Before the Rush to Judge

Jul 3 , 2021
By Eden Sahle

A few weeks back, a man I knew from previous work asked me to connect him with someone else I knew for his project. Later on, we called one another, and I informed him that the person would assist him with his project request. While I was giving him the contact address of the person, suddenly, he started screaming. I was shocked and speechless. I managed to wait for him to finish before wishing him a good day and hung up the phone.

I was puzzled and upset about what happened for almost the entire afternoon after that. I told myself that he is not the man I thought he was. He seemed to be a family man, respectful of people. Although I never knew him closely, he had been a nice person to interact with until that moment. I tried to remember our phone conversation and what might have driven him to act the way he did. I could not recall anything, but I could not stop asking myself what I did to him.

The next day, I found multiple apology texts on my phone from him. He explained that he had been under extreme pressure and stress, especially after he contracted COVID-19 a few weeks back. He was sincere, and I believed him. I also learned that I was wrong to have thought of him in such a negative light following our conversation the other day. I judged too quick and assumed that things were about me.

Often, we are guilty of assuming how people treat us is about us. It is not. This is what most of us believe unintentionally. We conjecture, theorise and land on a conclusion that seems to absolve us. Contrary to what informed thoughts tell us when we are disappointed in someone, we will not discover the answer by looking within ourselves.

But what goes on in people's minds is far more complicated than we can ever assume to know. We overlook the fact that people might have had a bad day or been sick and that they may be acting out as a result.

Out of the many things we can do for people, understanding them is far greater than any. Everyone’s life is different and challenged by various things daily. They go through momentary joy, anger and frustration, some of which could be mistranslated into an attempt to hurt others. Admittedly, there are also people able to control their anger and resentment instead of taking out their emotions on someone else.

This is where the skill of people management should come into play. Developing the habit of not allowing ourselves to be driven by outside circumstances enablse us to grant others the benefit of the doubt.

People who show their vulnerability to everyone and cannot hide their anger are more honest than most because they do not have to pretend for the approval of others. They are not worried because people see them being angry, sad or raising their voices. We go through this emotional vulnerability once in a while. We just have to make sure we are not lost in it.

The way we see things shapes our lives. How we define others determines how we interact and relate with them. Our positive or negative perspectives will influence how we invest our time in understanding or misunderstanding others.

When we develop a character that understands people are battling many things in their own lives, we spend less time judging or criticising them. Such a character is both developed and strengthened by overcoming mistreatment from others. Understanding that people have a lot going on in their lives helps us identify with them more despite how they handle their emotions. Every day we offer a calm response to the harshness of others; we develop emotional intelligence.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 03,2021 [ VOL 22 , NO 1105]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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