“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” -William Arthur Ward
I read somewhere once that we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and other people by their actions. In other words, we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, whereas we’re more apt to assume other people mean to be cruel, inconsiderate, or hurtful when they make poor choices.
I suspect this is a survival strategy: We need to believe that we are good people in order to live with ourselves, and we want to quickly assess which other people aren’t to make sure that they won’t hurt us. It’s a mental shortcut, if you will–the sooner you discover the worst in people, the sooner you can plan how to protect yourself.
But what it if we decided that just like us, most other people mean well, and then instead of fearing the worst, focused on finding the best? What if we put all our energy into recognizing the light in other people, and in doing so, brightened the light within us?
I know that whenever I believe in someone else, it awakens a sense of possibility inside me. It makes me feel more connected to other people, more empowered to collaborate with them, and more passionate about what we can all accomplish if we work with each other, not against each other.
Today if you feel tempted to focus on another person’s flaws, ask yourself: What good qualities am I overlooking, and what possibilities could I create if I focused more on those?
Photo by emilio labrador