A quote from Abraham Lincoln

Hello dear reader,

Today’s been another “day off.”  Yesterday I felt weak and shaky all day.  Today I’ve felt a little stronger, but have actually been in more pain.  I’m not going to sit here and whine, just updating how things are going.

I came across a quote today that stuck with me.  Those who look for the bad in people will surely find it.  (Abraham Lincoln)  Mr. Abraham Lincoln, whether he was a vampire hunter or not, was a smart man.

I hear people say that you can’t just give people the benefit of the doubt any more, not in these times.  That’s one of the things Dr. Phil says in his newest book. You should assume the worst.  Only in that way can you be safe.  Now I am a huge fan  of Dr. Phil, and  I use quotes from him all the time.  I consider him to be a smart man also. 

The terms “good” and “bad” are being used very loosely here. You can substitute “positive” and “negative” …”happiness” and “sadness”…”confident” and “afraid”…the list goes on and on. I took a course a few years ago titled Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. It proposed that there is no such thing as good or bad, there is only perception, needs expressed or not expressed, needs met or not met.

That said, I believe I have to go with Mr. Lincoln on this one.  I know there are a lot of people in this world who are dangerous.  But I also strongly believe that there is good in everyone.  That doesn’t mean that all people are all good.  You just have to look harder to find the good in some.    I don’t believe anyone is all bad, any more than anyone is all good.  Yes, I’ve been called naive for this view.  People ask, “What about Hitler, or Charles Manson?”  Where’s the good in them?”  I don’t know.  But I believe that even in people like them, there is a sliver of good somewhere.

I try my best to find good in everyone.  I try to understand the things I see as “bad” in people.  So often, “bad” is a result of ignorance, mental illness, and/or fear.  I’ve met some very cruel people in my life.  I’ve witnessed and experienced horrific behaviors.   But I can truly say I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have some good in them.

In my post the other day called Morning Coffee I talked about choosing to find the positive in people. This really isn’t so different. It all boils down to what you choose to focus on. When you look for the bad in people, that becomes all you can see. Finding the good in people may take more effort than finding the bad. But if you look for the good, once you start to find it you see more and more of it with less and less effort.

Another aspect of this, is that people behave the way they’re expected to in most cases. If you see bad in them, you expect bad from them, and that’s what they’ll give you. Now let’s reverse that. If you look for the good in people and expect good things from them, that’s what they’ll give you.

I know, I’m starting to sound a bit preachy here, but this is really important to me. If everyone looked for the good in everyone else and expected the best from them, think for just a minute how wonderful life would be. I believe that everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt (sorry Dr. Phil). Some people have shown me that they will cause harm if given the benefit of the doubt. I’m not stupid. I don’t keep coming back saying, “Hurt me some more!” But I continue to look for the “good” in them. Once I catch that sliver, I hang on tight and look for more.

So I went on a bit of a rant here. This is the place for me to rant about things I believe in. What do you think? Do you think there is “good” in everyone? Do you think it’s worth the effort to look for it in people?

Until next time…