People are neither good nor bad, neither fundamentally kind nor fundamentally self-centered. They’re a combination of both and spectacularly terrible at being the right thing at the right time. It may not sound like assuming other people are “basically stupid” is a compassionate way to go through the world. Maybe it isn’t. But I know it’s enabled me to be more forgiving of others in my life, from those who are close to me to those who are veritable strangers. I’m no longer ripping my own hair out with these heavy questions about whether people are “good” or not. I’m not giving people the benefit of the doubt that they’re all as concerned with other people’s feelings as I might be; instead, I’m giving people the benefit of the doubt that their bad behavior is just the result of ignorance.