I have always prided myself on generally being a fairly intelligent person. I have a keen interest in education and the world around me, and value the concept of lifelong learning more than I can possibly tell you. However, for a reasonably bright girl, I am one seriously dumb-assed fool from time to time – it’s friggin’ ridiculous. It seems that I am so eager to please people, to make them happy, to receive their attention and affection that I will believe pretty much any (and every) piece of bullshit that they can possibly tell me – and that is ridiculous. I simply don’t know what’s wrong with me.
― Søren Kierkegaard
I have always been quite gullible, which has made me excellent fodder for my friends over the years (especially one in particular who is a master bullshit artist – and my Step-Dad, too…he managed to make me believe that he was fluent in Swahili and that he used to own a cat that underwent a sex change. Yes, really. ) – and sadly, even at my somewhat advanced age, I’m still pretty easily taken in. I will suspend reality just to believe the far-fetched stupid excuse that you’re telling me, even though I rationally understand that monkeys are more likely to fly out my arse than have that tall tale you’re telling me be true. I used to think that I did this because I was just stupid about people and relationships, but deep down I know that isn’t the case…I may be many things, but generally, stupid ain’t one of them. The thing with me is that I am a total Pollyanna (I put the Leanna in Pollyanna – say it out loud, it’ll make sense…I’ll wait. 🙂 ) – I absolutely want to believe the best in everyone, as I want them to think the best of me. I am such a big believer of giving people the benefit of the doubt, and the reason for that is that I truly believe that we are all good inside. Even though all sorts of awful tragedies happen in the world every day, with people carrying out horrific acts of violence in the name of whatever cause they believe in…I still hold on to the idea that they weren’t always bad. I choose to believe that people do awful things because they can’t find another way forward, or, more accurately, they have lost their way…but they weren’t always bad. Once upon a time they were good people, as most of us are. I choose to believe that. I need to believe that. 🙂
Let’s look at another example: think about a time that you weren’t so kind to somebody else…walk back in your mind until you find one. Got it? Okay – now, tell me: why did you behave poorly? Was it because you wanted to hurt them? Were you just sick and tired of them and their bullshit? Or was it all about you wanting something else? We all have our reasons, and just because we may behave in a shitty manner from time to time does not make us shitty people. For the most part, we all do the best that we can every day – sometimes that is more than good enough, and other times we fall tragically short. The thing that matters, though, is that we always try our best – and hopefully those around us will recognize that and all will be okay for us. Hopefully. 🙂
I read this article entitled “On Discovering the Best in People” – give it a look:
“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?
Don’t you love this? I do. Instead of focusing on the things that those around us do wrong, let’s think about all the things they do right, and how we can cultivate that ‘rightness’ and make more of it happen! There’s way too damn much negativity in this world anyway, friends…let’s not contribute more, okay? 🙂 And as for me and what a fool I can be…I know that people laugh at me and my gullibility, and some of the crueller ones probably delight in pulling the wool over my eyes and making me believe that they mean well when in fact they are just shitheads that are using me, but… I really don’t care. Their arseholish behavior says far more about them and what pieces o’shit (POS) they are than it does about me, don’t you think? All it means is that I am a person who trusts, who cares, who loves big, who tries hard, and who always sees the best in people. And you know what? I am perfectly okay with a description like that. 🙂
PS: A final thought for today – look at this picture of the best feelings in the world…awesome, eh? 🙂