it is possible to find something bad about every person you encounter. superficially, you could make fun of a person’s clothing style, hair, or outward appearance. and if you went a little deeper, you could talk about their level of intelligence, lack of talent, or personality. and if you really wanted to, you could probably find deeper negative characteristics to discuss; their spirit, how they respond in social settings, the way they treat others. you get it. if you wanted to, you could find a reason to dislike and disregard every person you came across.
but the same it true for the reverse. it is also possible to find something good in every stranger you meet. on the surface, maybe there is one article of clothing you like or maybe their hair color is pretty. maybe you like person’s eye shadow, jewelry, or purse. more importantly, maybe the person is patient, genuine, or kind. if you wanted, you could discover that the individual is talented, athletic, humorous, or smart. maybe they are a good parent or sibling. or maybe-despite life choices- they are just inherently good.
today i met a lot of new people; some i may never see again. because they were all strangers entering a pre-treatment group for substance abuse, and because some did not have a home, i could have negatively judged them, dismissed them as not having anything to contribute, and not looked beyond where they were at in this certain point in their lives. i chose not to.
today, i consciously looked for the positive, for the talent, for the best in each individual i met. and as i previously stated, i met a lot of people. while interning today, i listened to and participated in several different kinds of groups (peer support, psychoeducational, process) and assessments for individuals at various stages of recovery from addiction. i found that it would be easy to place these individuals in a negative light before i spent two seconds getting to know them. but then again, i also found that it was even easier to see the parts of them that were amazing.
regardless of how you feel about substance abuse, every single individual has strength to offer. i challenge you to find it. today, i learned that people are extraordinary. i am not denying that people can do bad things or make bad choices. but i am arguing that good people can do bad things. today, i found that among the people i was working with, most of the people were doing their best.
today, i decided to not focus on the flaws. i decided to go beyond superficial compliments to find something i loved about everyone.
one person was incredibly resilient, the other quite kind. one knew more about his culture than i know about mine. another individual (who might i add was blind and diagnosed with a severe mental illness) was creative and resourceful enough to find a way to make it to each and every one of his appointments and meetings on time. i could go on and on.
today i challenged myself to give people a chance, to put them in their best light, to learn about what they could offer the world.
today, i met some pretty inspirational people. you could too, if you gave everyone a chance.
and because i was looking for the good, i only saw the good.