Benefit Of The Doubt
Webster defines benefit of the doubt, as “the state of accepting something/someone as honest or deserving of trust even though there are doubts.” e.g. “He might be lying, but we have to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept what he says for now.”
So basically, you are tolerating what someone says because you can’t prove it wrong…yet.
So where do you go from here?
You could nurture your doubt by remaining skeptical and looking for evidence to prove you are right and they are wrong. Where’s the benefit in this? This sounds pretty adversarial. How would you like to be on the receiving end of that “benefit?”
Or, you could nurture curiosity. You could ask questions to learn about their perspective. You could seek to understand. You could look for evidence to support their view. This benefits both of you. They feel heard and affirmed, and you might learn something. You can always fall back on your doubt and you don’t have to agree with them or embrace their views. Other than putting your ego and need for justification on hold temporarily, there’s no downside to nurturing curiosity.
Next time you are in doubt, give others the benefit of curiosity. It’s a win-win. That’s Compassionate Accountability.
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