Assume the best or the worst?

Often our view of reality is wrong, born out of the inevitable ignorance of not having enough information to form a realistic view. For example, if someone provides a word of caution: the stairs are slippery, hold onto the rail on the way down.

When we hear this we may be inclined to feel as if we’re being treated like a child, incapable of independent existence.

But, we don’t know what prompted that other person to speak.

Why then do we respond negatively? Why do we lash out and remind them we’re not a child?

Why not assume they deeply care for us? And that a reminder is nice, especially if we are in a hurry and might not be as careful as we would want to be? Sure, there are plenty of times we don’t need the reminder but what about the few times we do. Isn’t that a nice thing to have? After all, the same ignorance that leads us to assume ill intent is the same ignorance that makes a reminder potentially invaluable. Our mind may be preoccupied with something else besides the icy stairs.

Have you ever encountered a situation where someone pointed out something not obvious? Perhaps a pile of poop on the side walk, or a speed trap? And you felt grateful they pointed it out.

Isn’t this a better default reaction whenever someone provides a word of caution? Why allow the default to be defensive? Both views are likely ignorant of the other person’s intentions, why pick pessimistic ignorance when optimistic is a choice too?