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Do You Give People The Benefit of the Doubt?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
August 04, 2015

Discover whether or not it is loving to yourself to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

I was having a Skype session with Raul. He was feeling down because a woman he has recently met rejected him. He was confused because he hadn't actually really liked her on their first date, but he asked her out anyway.

"Why did you ask her out again?"

"I gave her the benefit of the doubt."

"Raul, please look back on your relationship history and see how things have worked out with women when you gave them the benefit of the doubt."

"Actually, it's never worked out. It's only gotten me into trouble in relationships. But aren't we supposed to give people the benefit if the doubt?"

"It's fine to do as long as you are not discounting your inner wisdom, but when you ignore red flags as I often see you do, then it's not loving to yourself to do that. When you give someone the benefit of the doubt in the face of obvious red flags and in the face of your inner intuition that tells you this isn't the right person for you, you are allowing your wounded self – your doubting self – to make the decisions."

How often have you given someone the benefit of the doubt and then found out that your first impressions were completely accurate? How often do you doubt yourself instead of honoring your inner wisdom?

I was taught to always give people the benefit of the doubt, which I now know means that I was trained to doubt my own inner knowing rather than to honor it. Over and over I gave people the benefit of the doubt – believing that my own inner experience was what I needed to doubt – and over and over I got hurt when I did that.

Now I know that, while everyone has an incredibly wonderful essence, many people operate mostly from their wounded self. I no longer doubt my own inner knowing regarding whether or not someone is operating mostly from their wounded self. Now I listen closely inside to my inner experience that tells me whether or not this person is generally open or closed, and whether or not they are on a learning, spiritual path or mostly on a controlling earthly path. While I can see their beautiful essence, I trust my inner knowing that lets me know whether or not THEY can see their own beautiful essence, or whether they believe they are their wounded self.

If he or she is a client, then of course I address this and work with them on it, but if I meet them in a social situation, I no longer put myself in the position of giving them the benefit of the doubt. It's never worked for me to deny my own reality.

I encourage you to stop doubting yourself. It is loving to yourself to trust your inner knowing rather than denying it in favor of giving another the benefit of the doubt. I'm not saying that it's never appropriate to give others another chance, but when you do so, do it as a discovery process, to see whether or not your inner knowing is accurate, rather than from a place where you are denying your inner guidance.

I have found over and over that when I give someone another chance, my first impressions were accurate. This is one of the ways I've learned to trust myself. Sometimes the person has qualities that I value and I choose to have them in my life, but I don't allow someone deep into my heart whom I know isn't an open, loving caring person.


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