When the phone rang at the local drug store, the pharmacist was shaken to hear the booming voice of a very angry doctor on the line.

The doctor demanded to know why the pharmacist had dispensed medication to his patient completely different to what he had prescribed. Just how careless can a human being get, all the more so a professional in a position of trust? Where was the pharmacist’s sense of public responsibility? Where did she get her diploma from? Or perhaps she just didn’t know how to read properly?

The confused pharmacist quickly apologized, but she wasn’t about to be let off the hook so easily. The indignant doctor continued with a tirade that never seemed to end: how professional obligations are taken so lightly in the modern world, how she could have caused serious damage to someone’s else, and so on…

Afterwards, the pharmacist sifted through her pile of prescriptions to find the script in question. To her surprise, she saw she had dispensed exactly what was written there! Ah, so it was the good doctor who had erred! She rang him up and very respectfully told him what she had found.

“Oh well,” he said casually, “anyone can make a mistake.”

Oh yeah? As some people love to say nowadays, Duh!

Recognize yourself, perhaps? Not sure? Think again!

Personally, I recognize myself very well. True, I rarely, if ever, shout at another human being for making a mistake or for any other reason. But…when I’m standing a long line at the supermarket checkout, to cite one example, I know how easily I’m inclined to get hot under the collar when another shopper tries to jump the queue. (Yes, he may have only one small item in his cart - “I’ll only be a second,” he pleads - but it’s a second of my valuable time, and what exempts him from following the rules like everyone else?)

And since I have such a poor memory - at least when it’s to my advantage - I don’t recall the times when I do my shopping five minutes before the next bus home is leaving, and if I miss it, I have a an hour and a half wait for the next one. Then, I’m very much tempted to do exactly what that cheeky fellow does, and occasionally, I might even give in to the temptation…

Interestingly, most of us are ready to acknowledge that our behavior can be offensive on occasion. However, we’re quick to plead extenuating circumstances. We tell the world, and ourselves, that what we did was out of character, so far from a reflection of our true personality. We only did it because…and you can fill in all sorts of reasons: sound, valid, justifiable reasons.

But when the shoe’s on the other foot, when others are rude and offensive towards us…well, you know very well what you think!

On the other hand, when we really care about someone, then suddenly it becomes surprisingly easy to justify their behavior, or at least to reserve judgment until we know the facts. We tap intellectual strengths we didn’t know were there, and find that we’ve suddenly become very creative and imaginative.

Now one thing’s very certain: we all care about OURSELVES. If we would work on ourselves to develop, to the best of our ability, a similar level of caring for others, everything might fall into place.

Author's Bio: 

Azriel Winnett is the creator of "Hodu.com - Your Gateway to Better Communication Skills" at hodu.com. This very popular website features only top quality articles, videos and tutorials to help improve your communication and relationship skills at home, in social life and in the workplace. Visit Azriel's blog at hodu.com/blog.