It’s commonplace in this world to encounter negative talk about yourself or the people you care about.
As humans, we have a tendency to give way to gossip, to our basest intrigues and to act in ways that are simple.
The truth is, talking negatively about someone is simple; it’s the easy way out.
You want a challenge? Try to find the good in people.
Talk from an asset-based place
Part of my training to be a reading tutor ⏤ which is how I spend most of my work life ⏤ included familiarizing myself with an “asset-based” approach or mindset to every situation I deal with.
Basically, this means that I enter situations not thinking about the deficit or lack of things other people may contribute. Instead, and without lying about someone’s capabilities, I think about what positive thing they are capable of contributing to things.
Sure, someone may not be an “idea person”, but they may be a more committed hands-on worker than others. Likewise, someone may have a good concept and a solid plan for something that will benefit many people, but they lack the skills in order to make it a reality on their own.
If you partner those two together, you have a strong team. Not incredibly strong individuals, but rather, two individuals with different strengths that, when combined, make up for their individual flaws.
Everyone always has something they can contribute to make things better. You just have to be open and flexible in letting them do what they do best.
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Those who focus on your lack, miss what an asset you are
Any time someone decides to put you down without provocation, they are the ones who miss out.
You see, when someone only looks at your flaws, they’ve cheated themselves out of the benefit of what you offer. They’ve made a snap judgment of you, and they refuse to see the good in you.
Because even you and your most bitter enemy could have once been the strongest of allies. If only one of you had chosen to put the other’s value over your own bias, misconceptions and emotions.
When you can’t, don’t force it
Well, what if you encounter a person that no matter what you try you just can’t see the good in them?
That’s okay. Sometimes we lack the ability to, especially when it’s someone we really struggle to even like as a person.
In those situations, it’s simple: Stop and leave them be.
No growth comes from two people being negative with each other just to be negative with each other.
If you hurt my feelings and I turn around and hurt yours, what was really gained? Is it just so I feel better about being hurt? Is that right?
Choosing silence over negative talk
I choose silence in those situations. I admit to myself I don’t have anything good to say, so I don’t say anything at all.
It’s better to leave things how you found them than to leave them worse off than you found them.
It’s okay to not get on with someone.
But wish them well in your mind anyway.
They’re moving and adjusting to life just like you. They’ve just found a different path.
And that’s okay.
Choose to be kind, regardless of whether they choose to be kind to you or not.
Because how you react to things should never depend on the character or honor of anyone else.
Your actions and words are and will always be about and show your true character.
Choose to show the right thing.
Ep. 13: The problem of being overly positive – Inside the Mind of Daniel Thompson
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