No one is my enemy; everyone is my friend. This post is about the power of positive thinking. It is also about how you can avoid one of the most common pitfalls of social interaction: making negative assumptions.

How many times have you found yourself making an assumption about how someone felt about you? And then, you let that assumption modify your behavior in some way. Maybe you just felt hurt. Or maybe you devised a way to get them back. Whether you were correct or not in your assumption (and oftentimes you’re not), you’ve set something in motion that has nowhere to go but down.

I therefore challenge you to stop making negative assumptions. If you insist on making assumptions about how someone feels about you, make a positive one: they are my friend and do not intend to hurt me.

I can hear your arguments. “But I can just tell they don’t like me.” “They have always treated people this way.” “What if …”

But I challenge you to try this. Because I have found that when you assume the person you are dealing with is not acting out of malice or ill will, you will find the outcome is very different from assuming the worst. First, your reaction will be totally different. And your reaction oftentimes is what causes the interaction to spiral into the negative. So when you react positively (or don’t react at all), you are allowing the interaction to be closer to the truth. And truth is important.

I’ll admit that maybe they don’t like you. Maybe they do mean you ill will. But if you react positively you completely change the outcome. If they meant for you to feel bad, you’ve disappointed them. If they meant you to suffer in some way, they failed. And most importantly, if they did not, you’ve allowed the interaction to stay positive and avoided needless suffering. Regardless of their intent, for you, this technique is definitely in the realm of win/win.

So you see you have nothing to lose. Letting go of the habit of assuming the worst is a great gift to yourself and those around you. I am personally aware of decades of suffering built around the habit of making negative assumptions. And you can let it go. Don’t assume the worst. Assume the best. And your world will be better for it.