Why I Look for the Good in Others
In recent years it has become my goal to look for the good in others, and it has been serving me well (thought it’s not always easy!).
I was reminded of this philosophy yesterday.
I had to go to a party/work function with my husband and some of the people he has recently started working with. I knew absolutely nobody there, and when I am in a situation where I am the odd-woman out, I’ve noticed that looking for the good in people can be challenging.
I think there is a natural tendency for many of us to immediately make rash judgements and assumptions about people we don’t know, especially when we feel like outsiders.
Looking around the party, my initial reaction was to assume the people there were stuck up and that they thought they were better than me. I’m not proud to say these were my first thoughts, but they absolutely were.
As a result, I spent the first hour of the party largely trying to remain inconspicuous. I am an introvert after all, and when social situations feel a little weird it’s natural for me to step away frequently.
However, at one point it hit me. I was assuming the worst about everyone in my presence, and as a result I was creating a very negative experience for myself. The truth was, I didn’t know anything about any of these people, and I was allowing my fear of fitting in to paint a picture of them I didn’t like.
So, instead of focusing on my negative assumptions about these new people I decided to look for the good. I started to scan the people at the party looking for things I could appreciate. I noticed a young woman who seemed particularly friendly toward me and I noticed a couple of men who were being especially polite.
At this point, the tide turned. The more I looked, the more positive qualities and traits emerged from the group.
As it turns out, there was good in everyone at the party. Once I diverted my attention away from my fears and away from my concerns about not fitting in, I was able to see that some of the people there were loving parents, some of them were very funny and witty, and all of them were inclusive and very friendly toward me.
Many of them shared similar interests with me, and every single one of them had something admirable within them.
A simple shift in how I looked at these people totally transformed my experience. When I had first shown up, I was looking for the soonest possible excuse to leave, but we ended up staying to the end and I was disappointed when it was time to leave! Hugging everyone goodbye, I felt like I had really bonded with the group.
Things like this happen whenever I choose to look for the good in others.
When I search for things to like about people, those people light up, and then they suddenly seem to enjoy being in my presence. After all, it’s hard to dislike someone who looks at you and sees you for your positive qualities. We all want to be seen as our highest selves. We all want to be acknowledged as worthy of appreciation and kindness.
Even better, when I look for the good in others, not only do they light up, but so do I. We are social creatures, and when those around us are smiling, laughing and friendly, we come to mirror and match these behaviors, naturally and effortlessly. Through focusing on the good in others, I indirectly allow the good in me to shine brightly as well.
I know many people prefer to be leery and hesitant around strangers, and I get it, because I used to be exactly the same way! However, learning to focus on the good in others has really helped me enjoy social interaction more and more over the years. I can’t it’s always easy for me to look for the good in others, but I can say when I do good things always happen.
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