As school begins again, families and educators are having to make challenging decisions about what is best for their family and circumstances. And these decisions have different consequences, including potential impacts on their mental and physical health. In this environment, we often look at what others are doing to help navigate or inform our choices. It can be natural for us to also make assumptions about people based on their decisions, as well as pass judgement on their choices and create stories about their motivations.
Rather than allowing ourselves to pass judgement, try to challenge your thinking. Identify negative thought patterns and try to understand their choices or see a situation differently. By first focusing on harmful thought patterns and trying something different instead, we are then able to interact with others in ways that enhance rather than shut down conversation.