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By Oludara Ogunbowale

Oludara OgunbowaleI once saw an unfamiliar face as I walked to my office. Naturally, I said ‘Good Afternoon’, but he stared at me and said nothing. I thought to myself ‘Maybe he did not hear me.’ This time, but louder, and with a smile, ‘Hi, Good Afternoon,’ I called. Still, he said nothing. Immediately I thought to say ‘I am greeting you’, in the general Nigerian fashion, but my intuition restrained me and I moved along. After about three steps, the loud bang behind me drew everyone’s attention. The guy was already on the floor convulsing. He was epileptic.

He was just having an aura at the time that I was greeting him. A friend who a medical doctor later explained to me that all the while that the convulsing guy did not answer me, he was going through some sort of experience that must have made him blank out of his immediate environment, knowing that he was probably about to get another seizure.

My flash backs made some more meaning. No wonder he was holding the railings as if he needed some balance — some support. It was really sad knowing he was going through all of that and I was just almost sure that he was dismissive. Thankfully, support staff were there to salvage the situation.

sam thompson

A lot of times, what we perceive is not all that is. That woman in your neighborhood may not be a witch. She probably just had a bad childhood and may still be experiencing the same as an adult, which makes her lash out at everyone. She needs help, not stigmatization.

How about your new boss who does not trust anyone? She had probably been duped by vendors and employees in the past. That child that seems so uncouth may not have been taught any better. The deal is ‘You never know the whole story. Try to make excuses for people.’

When we were younger, there were a lot of talks about Intelligence Quotient (I.Q). Now, Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, Social Intelligence and a few other I’s are essential for success in our relationships with people. Knowing how to give people the benefit of doubt helps us to have better relationships. It is quite hard, very hard. Not everyone is out to get you. Not everyone does things to you just because you are you. There are so many things that are involved. So many experiences. So many.

I am not saying we all should throw caution to the wind and excuse abuse or toxicity. No. But before you make assumptions about persons or situations, get your facts right and be sure that those are verified facts. When we relate with people – because we all do – know that what everyone is, or does is a reflection of a whole other factors either from their personality, experience, present situation, belief systems or upbringing. An understanding of these things reduces the frequency of how we get hurt from our dealings with people and helps us with handling our relationships better.

Read also: #DarasPage: Dreams Are Not So Dreamy

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