Every person has their unique, natural, God-given talents, positive traits of character and desire to contribute to the world in some way. Sometimes this inner goodness is temporary overshadowed by fears, harsh words and painful past experiences.
But it does not mean we should not try to see past people’s actions and limiting beliefs and try to bring out the best in every person we see.
I know, it is not your job, nor your duty to bring the best out in people, but take it from me it is a lot nicer to live in a world of bright, kind-hearted and compassionate people than deal with “ungrateful family members”, “hard-headed clients” and “slack co-workers”.
In fact, learning to bring out the best in other people is one of the best gifts that you can give yourself. True, it might not always be easy. It might not always be appreciated. It might not even work in some cases, but it does not mean we should stop trying.
Here is a little guide on how to do it:
1. Do not take negativity personally.
“Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.” – Rene Descartes
Can you think of a time when you were bubbling with joy and love for the whole world? You wanted to share it with everyone you met, right? Well, when people are overcome by negative feelings, they unintentionally share them with the world as well.
So when someone is being negative, judgmental or offensive in your presence it does not mean that you have to take their negativity personally. People feel what they feel and you just happened to be in their way. No big deal. Of course, it does not mean that you should become a doormat and tolerate others treating you poorly. It means that you should not let negativity rub off you.
2. Start with your own attitude.
“If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.” – Lucy Larcom
To bring out the best in others you have to start with your own attitude. Try to judge less and not concentrate as much on other people’s shortcomings. I like to think that sometimes, how people act around us is an echo of how we have been to others. If something about another person is bothering you right now maybe it is good to take a step back and think about the people you have been rude and unjust to in your life. Think of those, who have seen potential in you, even if it was not obvious to you. Think of those, who were patient and kind to you. Think of those, who have stuck with you through the hard times. Now try to do the same for others.
3. Look for the positive motivation behind a negative action.
“Good intentions are at least, the seed of good actions” – Sr. William Temple
Many of our negative actions are triggered by good intentions. We often criticize others, because we think it will help another person to grow both personally and professionally. We try to mold people into what we want them to be, because we think they will be happier that way. There are hundreds of examples when our good intentions “boomerang” back into our face. Therefore, before assuming something or pointing out another person’s mistake, take a moment to find the positive motivation behind it. This action alone will win you the admiration of your friends, employees and co-workers.
4. Put on positivity glasses.
“We don’t see the things the way they are. We see things the way WE are.” – Talmund
The simplest way to bring out the best in people is to hold an attitude of positive expectations. Instead of looking for what is missing, or what is wrong with a person, we can re-frame our expectations to look for what is positive. Make it a habit to find admirable qualities – beauty, talent, wisdom, dedication, loyalty – in everybody around you and acknowledge these qualities on a regular basis. Most of the time people will live up to your expectations and sometimes even exceed them.
5. Witness potential everywhere.
“We are all the same in one notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – Wilma Rudolph
Many people are much more talented, interesting and open-hearted than they think themselves to be. To bring these qualities into others, you have to believe that they are capable of doing more, and treat them as if they are already living up to their potential.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa
As little as an encouraging smile, generous praise, and a sincere interest in another person’s feeling go a long way to motivating people into working harder towards following their dreams and striving to be their best selves. Therefore, try to follow Mother Teresa’s advice daily – meet people with a smile and have faith in them, even in the worst circumstances. Because it is in your power to make those around you a little better. At least that is what I believe.