We can usually a number of good traits about those that we like, such as their kindness, generousity, and good humour. But what about those that we have fallen out with? If we dislike or hate someone, we don’t think they’ve got a good sense of humour, or that they’re kind to us. Instead, we tend to focus on their bad traits, such as their rudeness and anger, even though their personalities haven’t changed.
They’re still the same person whether we like them or not. There is every chance that each person has as many ‘good traits’ about them as they do ‘bad traits’. We just need to find them.
Why Do We Focus On The Negative Side?
It’s always interesting to observe ourselves placing more emphasis on someone’s bad traits when they ‘wrong’ us or do us harm.
Sometimes when we’re in the company of another person, we can go from liking them to disliking them within a matter of seconds depending on how they treat us. The reverse is also true – if we are talking with something that wronged us in the past and they apologise for their actions, we may forgive them and rediscover why we liked them in the first place.
But why do we let ourselves focus on the negative side of someone who’s hurt us even though their positive side still exists? I believe it’s because they’re no longer showing us their positive side.
If all we see in someone is hate or doubt towards us, then we may start to believe that that is who they are. This is because we can only form an immediate opinion of someone based on what we see before us, rather than what we already know about them.
For example, your father may have normally been a loving, caring individual when you were younger, but at the time when he shouted at you for breaking a plant pot, he was no longer that individual. Instead, in your eyes, he became this ‘nasty’ man who yelled at you whenever you did something wrong.
Your opinion of him changed, and you then focus on his negative side (he shouts a lot, he gets angry quickly, he cares more about his plants than me). It would only be when he shown you his positive side again that you realised that he has been good to you most of the time. But at the time of his outburst, your opinion was different.
We focus on people’s negative sides because we’re presented with their negative sides. If we were treated with love and respect, we’d focus on that instead.
How To Discover The Good
So now that we know that we must find someone’s good side in order to see them as ‘good’, how do we discover it? What can we do to find the positive qualities of someone we don’t like in order to repair our relationship? Here are four tips which can help you uncover the good in those we hate.
- List 10 Positive Things About The Individual
Each individual has a whole host of positive attributes, from them clearing the table after a meal, to them making monthly donations to a charity. So if there is someone you hate, try to find 10 positive things about them.
Be honest and list them down, no matter how they’re positive or to who the individual is positive to. Other attributes could be “he tells his wife that he loves her every day”, or “she helped an old lady across the street last week”.
By thinking of 10 different things, we stretch ourselves to acknowledge the positive side of someone we don’t like, and admit that this person isn’t as bad as we thought they were.
- Imagine Them With Their Family
Another way to find the good side is to imagine the individual with their families, whether it be their parents, children, siblings, or any other family members with whom they get on with.
Everybody has a family, and everyone was born into this world. Can you imagine the individual in question with their families, laughing and enjoying each other’s company? If they have children, can you picture them playing with them and helping with their homework? If their parents are still around, can you imagine them helping their mother and father with their shopping?
When we’re with our families, we relax and enjoy free time – we’re open and vulnerable. If someone you hate can be open and vulnerable with their families, do you think they can be open and vulnerable with you?
- Ask Them How They’re Feeling
Even though we may flinch at the thought of speaking to someone we dislike, the very act of doing so shows that we’re willing to keep the relationship alive.
People love to talk about themselves. If I was to ask you about your dreams and ambitions, you’d still think about it and attempt to answer even if you didn’t have any. If I was to ask you how you were feeling, you’d most likely take time to figure out how you’re feeling before you answered.
We don’t often get the chance to express our feelings, so any chance that comes our way to express ourselves is usually taken.
Ask the person you hate how they’re feeling. They may have strong emotions about you, in which case it’s good to let them express themselves without interrupting them, to avoid making it worse. Allow them to share their feelings. After a while, their good side will begin to emerge.
- Say “Sorry”
Perhaps the hardest word to say to someone is “sorry”.
“Sorry” implies that you’re in the wrong and wish to let them know. “Sorry” states that they’re right and you want to admit it. We can find it so hard to say “sorry” sometimes, as it means we have to let our guard down. We have to show that we’re vulnerable and we don’t want to continue our bad relations with the other person.
But by apologising, we show to the other person that we can be better than what we have been. We show we’re willing to move on from all of the friction that has taken place, and begin a new, healthier chapter of the relationship.
Saying “sorry” is simple, but bringing ourselves to do it can be hard. Remember to take your time, refuse to let yourself get re-involved in old frictions, and focus on the calmer waters that saying “sorry” will bring.
Love Runs Through Everyone
Although there are many people in the world who show their ‘bad sides’, whether consciously or unconsciously, it’s important to remember that they, and everyone else, have ‘good sides’ too.
These good sides don’t come out by their own unless the individual is willing to show it. Instead, it requires some coaxing from someone else.
If you’re in a bad relationship with someone you hate, then you have the chance to be that ‘someone else’. You have the opportunity to mend old wounds and allow the other person to show their good sides to you. The best way to access someone’s good side is to show your good side first.
We all have positive sides to us. If you can show yours to those you dislike, then you have more chance of being shown their good sides in return.