Scenario: You're in a business meeting when suddenly you become agitated by a comment someone has made. Maybe it's an affront toward you or your work, or possibly a sarcastic remark that comes out of nowhere. You bristle with agitation or roll your eyes as you think to yourself, what is wrong with them?

Unspoken diatribes soon follow.

A knee-jerk reaction...a simple act of judgment. Let's face it, we've all done it. It's the sting of rejection at the most primal level that makes us leap to judge another -- a natural tendency to act in our own defense. And don't think for a moment that they didn't notice your reaction.

One of the most intriguing things about human behavior is that most of us think that we can hide our thoughts from others -- but nothing could be further from the truth. We can sense when someone dislikes us, or bears a grudge. Now you're both in the same acrimonious boat.

So, how do you break the pattern of judgment and assumptions? The next time someone does something that exasperates you, or makes a comment that raises your ire like fuel on the proverbial fire, instead of reacting try taking a step back for a moment and attempt to come to understand their behavior.

Why? Because there is always another side to the story.

Consider the following:

What is really going on here?

What would motivate this person to act this way?

Was it what you said or did that drove them to make that disparaging remark?

Was it only about this particular issue? Or was it the twenty things that happened before this meeting that had nothing to do with what you said?

Taking this further, was it more of a testament to the relationship that you have with this person? In other words, was the remark more of a symptom of past conversations that went astray? This self-directed enquiry -- accompanied by deep, calming breaths -- can help shift your mind out of frustration and judgment and into a more contemplative, investigative state.

Finally, what is the one step you could take to shift your relationship with this person? Remaining in judgment will keep your feet firmly planted in opposition, which doesn't serve you or your relationship.