Reminder: That Person is at a Low Point

I · July 19, 2021

Sometimes we encounter a person behaving in such an extreme (bad, good, or weird) way that it’s hard to understand how it could be possible. With mass media and the Internet, we get more exposure to this than ever before.

We might ask ourselves, “How can that person be so rude/stupid/belligerent?” or “How did that person ever come up with that business idea?”

When we don’t know a person, we can’t tell if a given behaviour is characteristic of them or not. Most people are pretty normal, so it can be easy to forget that a lot of the time when people are behaving in a way that’s hard to understand, it’s because they’re at an extreme point in their year, decade, or even life.

This might be a low point in their week where they’re really tired and stressed. A person’s successful business might be the result of the best idea they’ll ever have in their life. Or a person might seem very radical because they’re at the peak of their devotion to a cause, and a year from now they’ll look back and wonder what they were thinking at the time.

It’s hard to tell whether a person is “just like that” or whether you happen to be seeing them on the craziest day of their life. Keeping this in mind can help us be more compassionate and give us more understand when others, or we, behave in ways we find hard to understand.

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