MRI in this case stands for “Most Respectful Interpretation” of what someone is saying to you or of their behavior. Words and things can be taken in many different ways and our response, internally and externally, often depends as much on our opinion of the person, how much we trust their good intentions as anything else. People frequently interpret the very same conversation differently, put a different meaning on the same behavior. This is often based more upon our world view or emotional state than on the words actually used or event viewed.
When we give people the benefit of the doubt, when we ascribe the best possible motives, the ‘most respectful interpretation’ of their intents and words, we call out to the best in them and they frequently respond in kind and all the more likely so, because we chose to believe in them.
“Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners” – Laurence Sterne, 1713-1768
“If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them to become better than they are.” – John W. Gardner
“Respect a man, and he will do all the more.” -John Wooden