Give Others Grace to Grow

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When I was 16 years old, I was an uber-competitive tennis player. I would play adults and do ANYTHING to win. I think back to those days and, sometimes, wince at my behavior. Although I am still very competitive (ask around), I like to think I have evolved since those days.  But unfortunately, some people will always see me that way.  Listen to today’s DMJ Podcast now!

The challenge I ran into, when I moved back to my hometown, is that those adults saw me as the same person. So when I brought up playing tennis, there was hesitation in the response. They did not want to play with THAT guy. But it was hard to convince them that I had changed. I had grown up.  I was reminded of this recently as a person reminded me of “what a temper I had” back then.   I winced because I don’t necessarily just want to be remembered for that.  I have grown.

And it occurs to me, we don’t always allow others to grow and change. We see the mistakes of the past as the sins of their future. We assume they are the same.  We allow and expect ourselves to grow and change.  But we don’t give others that same benefit of the doubt.

I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with someone from my past. I wasn’t crazy about this person back then, so I was reticent about spending the time. But after thinking about it I realized that maybe I wasn’t all that great back then either. Maybe that person had evolved. Maybe we both had.

I was glad I did.

So give people the grace to assume they have grown. You might be surprised…you might have grown too.

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