People are complicated. It’s often hard to understand why they behave in certain ways. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand your own behaviour. I’ve often failed to understand my reactions, although, as I get older and (hopefully) wiser, things are becoming clearer.

Cat of Daily Improvements wrote about people who behave out of character and about her own lapses when talking to officials. Many people will be surprised to learn that I also occasionally break out of my normal reserve and shout at people – strangers – including some who really don’t deserve such treatment. For years, I didn’t understand why I did this. Now I know that it’s my way of turning off social anxiety. Like Cat, I’m not proud of losing my temper in this way, but I understand where it comes from. My poor victims don’t understand.

Cat says she’s going to “try and be more aware of the motivations of other people and the mitigating factors that might explain their behaviour.” That’s good advice for anyone, but often it’s impossible to know what motivates others. We just have to be aware that everyone has motivations, and often things ain’t what they seem.

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