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5/2/11

Do you see the good in people?

I'm pissed off.  When I blog in a pissed-off mood, my posts can go either way.  Sometimes I come up with my best work.  Sometimes I create a shitstorm of backlash.  Let's see what today brings...

I'm getting tired of the world looking through a filter where we only see negative things.  I can do 20 good things for you, or to you, but 1 bad action ruins everything.  An old saying comes to mind: "It only takes a few drops of oil to ruin a gallon of water."

Yet, this is how society runs.  In politics, we see people running for office not running by saying "I'm the best for the job," but instead saying "look how horrible my opponent is."  Both political parties play this game, and rarely have anything good to say about the other side.

If you've watched the news on TV in the last 5 years, you have probably noticed there are about 10 "doom and gloom" stories for every neutral or "feelgood" story.  Is there more bad happening in this world than good?  No, but bad = newsworthy.  It's what people want to hear.

I try to see both the good and bad in people.  Nobody's perfect, so everybody has qualities on both sides of the spectrum.  The good and the bad, the past and the present, it shapes who you are and what you do.  My difference?  I try to focus on the good.

Because nobody likes it when you point out their flaws, and tell them how bad they are.

This seems to happen a lot in a work setting, as well as at home.  School teaches us that 90% is an A, and we all want A's.  But in the workplace, if you do 100 things that amaze your boss, and 1 bad thing, that 1 bad thing can ruin you.  If I were a surgeon, I'd understand this a little bit more.  1 botched surgery is a big deal to the person you just operated on.  But in Customer Service?  In Marketing?  I didn't trigger the apocalypse, I just made one booboo...

It hurts when it's on a personal level as well.  When you share your life with someone, and you always make an effort to make them feel happy, feel loved, feel appreciated.  When you care, and it's not noticed, it hurts.  When you fall short of expectations, and all your efforts are thrown out because of something bad, it feels like it's not really worth it. 

An example of this is my dad.  I grew up trying to please him, trying to meet his high expectations of me.  I never could.  Everything I did was never good enough.  Now, as as an adult, he expects me to still live my life to his standard.  To be shaped as he sees fit.  If I don't bend to his will, I'm not a good son.  He never saw the love, the effort, the good.  He only saw what I was doing wrong.  For this reason and probably 100 others, I haven't spoke to him since January 2009, and have no desire to rebuild that bridge.

This isn't the only example in my life, just the easiest to describe.  It's also in my past, and doesn't affect my present, so it's an easier piece of laundry to air out.

Why can't we, as a culture, see the good in people?  Why do we make such a big deal out of others faults?  Is it because of our own insecurities?  If we ridicule you enough, maybe you won't notice what's wrong with us?  My can't criticism be constructive, instead of just hurtful?

Why is it so hard to see things through the eyes of others?  Maybe we would understand people's actions more if we understood the reasoning behind the actions... and thought long and hard before we cast judgment and sling hatred.
Please Share it! :)

32 witty retorts:

Kingmush said...

Completely agree. I hate when I get called out on for a simple mistake I made and then someone goes on and on about it..

Annabelle said...

What is it about the negative that sticks while the positive rolls right past?

Why is anger so much easier to hold onto than happiness?

I wish I knew the answers and more importantly I wish I knew how to make real change in this area, for myself and for others.

Kar said...

I agree, I'd love to see a candidate for office run a campaign that says vote for me because I can do "this" rather than vote for me because I'm not as bad as the other guy.

You could be talking about my father too. I decided that it's MY life to live and no longer have contact with him since December 2007.

Hope your day gets better.

The Angry Lurker said...

I distrust someone before I meet them, maybe it's partly my job in security, maybe it's me but the one thing I do is always look at the situation from their point of view first, what would I do in their shoes.

after3 said...

I try not to think about people. It just leads to more questions.

a3

Kicking Rocks said...

Great post man! It is true about the news wanting to put out more bad than good. I do wish life was like school and grading, even if you mess up, you can make it up and bring it back up.

AmberLaShell said...

Yeah, I never understood how only the negativity wins out.. It's the same way where I work. I can go everything right for months on end, but then make one tiny mistake and it's like I single handedly sunk the company or something! Even when it wasn't even MY mistake! Great post, it went a goog way this time :)

AmberLaShell rants

Autumnforest said...

This is a most excellent post! I admit that our biggest problem is expecting everyone to think like we do; they should have the same priorities, same thought process, same values. We get angry when they aren't like us! I like the variety of people out there, even tthe screw-ups on the road keep my driving skills sharp. Hell, there's a place for everyone. When it comes down to it, when you need them, folks are there. Look at 9-11 or any natural disaster. We get caught up in our own importance at times, but once we stop saying "why isn't he doing this the RIGHT way?:" i.e. MY WAY, we can really just appreciate all the different types of humans, motivations, educations, backgrounds, priorities, morals, in whatever form they take.

Astronomy Pirate said...

Negative feedback just happens to have a way to strike a nerve and embed itself in your head. To me it feels worse when you remember these situations years later, but have the inability to recall the good ones. This is especially true with me and old girlfriends. I know we had good times, but I don't remember what they feel like, just the hurtful things. I know what good times feel like with my current GF though. As for anyone else, well, you can't go through life without making a few enemies.

D4 said...

It's just how 'this' society works. It's about where people grow up and how generations before them coped. I think like you, I try and see the good in everyone and when I talk to others, I also see the block they put by finding the negatives. I honestly think that the population that do see the positives will start to greatly affect the future. It's the little things that the youth learn about. Neighbors, relatives, the positive example will live on. We're just the unfortunate pioneers, if you will, that might never see the movement in full effect.

The Reckmonster said...

You know, I was actually thinking something similar to this last night when the prez was on TV making the announcement about OBL. I was watching the Twitter feed and FB reactions. I was so fucking pissed that there were people who kept INSISTING, "This is not Obama's victory!" or making snarky comments like, "He sure is saying 'I' a lot...there's no 'I' in teamwork!" It was like - DUDE, let it go man...why do you have to be such a negative fucking nellie right now?! I noticed one of your tweets too about everyone just throwing their partisanship aside for just a moment. It's like some people are just wired for being the anti-christ of whatever is being said. No matter what - they'll pick out the negative. It's exhausting - those kinds of folks are truly energy-sappers. But you're right, people won't always remember what you did right, but they will always remember what you did wrong. I try to avoid that kind of thinking, but I know I'm guilty of it too - especially with people who I feel have really hurt me. They obviously had some redeeming qualities at some point or I wouldn't have hung out with them - but whatever they did to hurt me, well, that just magnifies whatever I might have perceived as a negative quality.

meandmythinkingcap said...

Agree with you 100%. And when parents do it, it is totally unpardonable. Because kids think they are the world and when they put too much pressure and take out all their disappointment on them , it is bull.
I tolerated to some extent then for every dialogue of theirs about how disappointed they are, I started to question them back and whenever they compared me with my classmate I started to compare them with their peers and that shut them up :)

Colin Biano said...

people tend to feel less of themselves the more they look at the good in people. at least that's how i think a lot of people are, but i don't know

G said...

Totally agree with you as well... especially in a work environment you have to have the freedom to try new things, make mistakes, learn and move on (unless you're a surgeon or nuclear physicist...etc). If you give people the space they need to grow and the encouragement to experiment then you usually find you get the most out of them...

Zombie said...

because people these days just like the drama of doom and gloom...

Jewels said...

Little else in the world hurts as much then your love going unnoticed or unappreciated. I completely see what you are saying but it is the rare person who looks at life, every day, with true world perspective and consideration of others. I'm not saying it is right, but people complain non-stop without thinking of how bad others have it, speak before thinking about the feelings of others, and act with no regard for anyone but themselves. It is absolutely horrible and if we stopped to really pay attention to our words and actions I'm sure the majority of us would be pretty horrified.

Random Girl said...

Good post! I think that there is a lot of negativity and then that becomes your first reaction, your perception of all things incoming, is that it will be negative even if it's not the intention behind it necessarily. By and large, people can say anything they want, any way they want, and are never held accountable for the fall out those words might cause.

middle child said...

I have always felt that way about politics. They sound like 12 year old tattle tales. That alone would turn me away from voting for them. Now, I think I am one who DOES see that good in people, or at least I go into any situation expecting courtesy at the very least. Ah, perhaps a bad thing that I have expectations. But I also see good in a person that everyone has "written off." I can look past what the world is seeing. I see the hurt. I see the itelligence or loneliness.

Dale said...

Hmm, this is a tough one and it's sad when people are so negative all the time, but usually there is a reason. Maybe you should send this post to your dad too...you never know. It might make a difference. :) Nice well thought out post. Oh yea, I voted for you too

Dale

The Wired said...

I do agree, and we're all human, we all fuck up in life every once in a while. It happens. You can't judge a person based on that..

Leila said...

I've been taught by all the grown ups around me, that you need to stop trying to find both good and bad in people, and just accept them as they come. If I try to look at the world through rose-tinted glasses, I think you'd just be as blind as wearing much darker shades. I think I learned that too late, especially when it comes to personal relationships. I worshiped my ex to the point that he was a perfect being to me, and then when the time came when he couldn't fulfill every expectations, I let the "few drops of oil" ruin the whole gallon of water. I can also say that on his side, he believed too much in me, and so put up with my bullshit until he called it quits. If we were willing to face the truth beforehand, I think none of the pain I went through would've happened.

And to be honest, I can't have a negative POV on your father. Don't get me wrong, I think you're a very good, intelligent man who lives far above anyone's expectations, but fathers (especially ones of his age) are usually accustomed to shaping their children (especially sons) to the behaviors they desire. It's not necessarily right, but they were brought up thinking they had an iron first. I think that if you meet with your father one day, and tell him you forgive him (rather than telling him you're sorry for not being someone else), you will exceed both his expectations and desires for you. Maybe he won't express it outwardly, but he's your father and I'm sure, despite all the hurt he's caused you, that you still love him. If he can't do so much as return an affectionate gesture after that, then so be it. Just know you surpassed even him in both maturity and acceptance.

Bart said...

yeah but im usually an awesome guy, i also see the bad in ppl. thats what u gotta watch out for.

On My Soapbox said...

If I didn't know better, I would say our parents are related....

I am a positive person who sees the good in others (unless they are a complete jackhole), in part, I think, because my mother is the opposite. In her eyes, I will never be young enough, thin enough (even though I'm a 2-4!), successful enough, etc. After years of taking her crap, I have taken charge of the relationship. It is now on my terms. My life is a hell of a lot better now that I have acknowledged and accepted several things, including the type of person she is. We can't change people, but we can change how we interact with them and how we respond to them. Hop on over to my blog and check out a post from February 2011, "Divorcing Your Parents". You're not alone.

Shutterbug said...

You make a very good point. The world would be a better place if we saw the good in people rather than the bad. But I think that a lot of the times, it's easier to criticize others than it is to criticize ourselves. It makes us feel better about ourselves and our insecurities. Anyways, I hope you have a better day tomorrow.

donga5000 said...

I completely agree bro, I think it's ridiculous how people are summed up by there failures, just seems not right. Hope shit starts goin your way soon

zepdragon said...

You have very valid points. Society prefers to take the easy route and looks for anothers life to be worse off than theirs, the saying "it could be worse" I be is part of the reason this is.

kitkat said...

I dnt think its jst the american society, i think its the world in general. Some people are so quick to judge others and pick out their flaws.. so sad!
and sorry bout the relationship u have with your dad :(

Moobeat said...

not often

=dgrphx= said...

2 types of people workers and entrepreneurs gotta pick one

Chris Phillips said...

I would agree with you, but in the 4th paragraph from the bottom you used a fragment. Try to rant correctly next time. j/k Hope things pick up for you.

squatlo said...

Don't know if you listen to Lyle Lovett's music or not, but he has a great song with the line:

"you can make just one mistake, and it can take you to your grave, one bad move turns your world upside down...
It's such a shame, 'cause you've been so good up 'til now..."

Thank, Q said...

Good post. I feel the same way. Businesses will spend their campaign bad-mouthing their competitors rather than just trying to prove that they're better. If that doesn't work, they just buy them out. We love mud slinging. That's why there are more reality shows than scripted shows on TV. Well, most reality shows are scripted, but you get what I'm saying. The bottom line is: one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. There's not enough appreciation for the things that go well. In politics, business, and relationships.

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