When I was writing my latest blog post about positivity, I had originally written “seeing the best in others” as one of my main headings. But as I continued writing, this particular section kept getting longer and longer – to the point where it was becoming disproportionately long compared to the others. As I tried to figure out how to make the section shorter, I realized that I didn’t want to cut anything out. Light bulb!
So here we are. Instead of trying to chop out sections that are important to me, I’m dedicated an entire blog post to one of my biggest life mantras: seeing the best in others. Today I’m sharing with you how remembering the positive qualities in others and refraining from judgement not only helps me get along with strangers, but also strengthens my closest relationships as well!
Remember the positive qualities
Sometimes it’s human nature for us to see the worst in people. When we discover the things we don’t like about others, we often focus on the negative instead of remembering the positive. We end up convincing ourselves that we simply don’t like a person because of these three or four things that annoy us. Furthermore, we end up relentlessly agitating ourselves by fixating on the negatives and reminding ourselves of how annoyed we are. It’s an endless cycle.
The fact of the matter is, you aren’t going to get along with every person you meet. And you don’t have to like everyone you come across. But there are also people in your life that you may not be able to avoid, even if you’ve never warmed up to them. Remembering to see the best in others can help you embrace those who you might normally dismiss as annoyances and can even help you make a friend!
You don’t have to be friends with everyone, but being friendly can’t hurt. Once I am able to focus on someone’s positive traits and let go of the insignificant negative ones, I find myself treating them with more respect, changing the tone I use to talk to them, and coming across as a better, kinder person myself!
Refrain from judgement
The second piece to seeing the best in people is refraining from judgement. How many times have you realized you’re in a situation that looks deceivingly bad? Or perhaps acted out of character on a bad day? Maybe had to make tough decisions for reasons that no one else will understand? We hope that no one is judging us and that others will give us the benefit of the doubt. We owe it to others to do the same.
Unfortunately judgement is one of the most detrimental barriers to seeing the best in others, but also one of the most innate habits of human nature. We often jump to the worst conclusions when we see something we don’t like or something we’re uncomfortable with. I challenge you to give people the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge what you may not understand. This way of thinking is much more productive than assuming there’s something innately wrong with someone.
I have learned to avoid judgement by being open to listening to others, and reminding myself that there’s always more than meets the eye. You simply never know what life factors or experiences can shape someone to be a certain way or make the decisions they do.
That woman on her phone while her kids are screaming in the middle of the grocery aisle, opening all the cereal boxes?(Yes, I’ve witnessed this.) Give her a pass. Although it was tempting to assume she was being a bad parent, I acknowledged that I couldn’t possibly know all the things that could have happened in her day, her kids’ day, or even their lifetime that may have sparked this scene. If I had rolled my eyes and thought negatively of her in this circumstance, it might not have had a direct effect on her at the time. However, it would only perpetuate my own instincts to judge others which would end up carrying over to my personal relationships. This is where being quick to judge could be detrimental to both myself and others.
There are definitely people in my life whom I didn’t grant the benefit of the doubt. And there are others who I didn’t give a chance because I was too wrapped up in what annoyed me, causing me to forget about all their positive qualities I admire and could learn from myself. Looking back and reflecting on how I treated them, it wasn’t always very fair.
I promise you will find that you’ll get along with others so much better when you reframe your mindset to see the best in others. Let go of the little annoying quirks, remember the positive qualities in others, and give people the benefit of the doubt without judgement. [Mic drop.]