I realized something about myself recently, a trait that isn’t pretty and one which I hope to change.
For the most part it seems I see the bad in people. I can trace this back to things and people in my life and blame it on that, however I won’t change if I do, so I choose to move forward and not make excuses. I want to see the good first and foremost.
It’s so easy to turn against a person, to see things from our own vantage point, and sometimes with negative input from others. If enough people tell us that a person is a failure of sorts, or a problem, whatever it may be, we start to believe it.
I watched the movie “Doubt” for the second time recently. I won’t give away the ending, but in the movie the nun who leads the school accuses the priest of doing something inappropriate with a male student. She sees the bad in the priest. The nun has black and white thinking, she is certain that she’s right. And he can do nothing right in her opinion including how much sugar he uses in his tea, the length of his nails, and so on. You get the point.
When we only see the bad, when that’s what leads us, rather than finding the good first (and always) it’s easy to be led down the wrong path.
My eyes were opened to this whole concept when I found that I had developed a negative attitude about someone who once had an important place in my life. I only heard one side of the story: the negative side. And I heard it a lot. As we all know there are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth.
I walked in this person’s shoes just long enough to get it, to realize what a mistake I had made.
I encountered the beast firsthand, the same monster that had been attacking this person. That’s when all the pieces fell together … sort of, although it was anything but immediate.
If you haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes, you won’t know where they have been, what their struggles are, why they behave in a particular way, and especially how they feel.
But if you face the same monster as another it opens up a whole other side. It gives you knowledge that is missing when you only hear the negative about someone.
You may wonder about this beast, monster to which I refer. It’s comparable to watching a bear play from your picnic table. The cute bear you see is like Winnie-the-Poo. He eats honey and seems sweet and loveable. But he’s not Winnie-the Poo. He’s actually a very real bear who is just who he is, but you don’t want to be in his path when he’s angry, or have him mad at you, because that’s when he becomes a monster, a beast that is unrelenting and will take whoever he must in his path to get what he wants.
When the monster first attacked me I didn’t see outside of myself, it was all about me and my pain. But through the grace of God I was given insight via a conversation or two and the light bulb came on with a very high wattage.
It was a knowing that you know that you know moment. Having faced the wrath of the beast, I knew exactly why others behave as they do having experienced it too. It makes perfect sense.
So here I am a while later having made amends where necessary for any part I played in the monster’s game. I learned so much. I feel like a load has been lifted off my shoulders and the world shines more brightly.
Now I have the opportunity to carry this knowledge and wisdom with me into the future. I hope I do. I pray that I don’t forget the lesson of seeing both sides before making a judgment.
I hope I see the good first and always.