See the good in others

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It can be surprisingly difficult to see the inherent beauty and goodness in ourselves and others. In some people, these qualities are obvious and shine so brightly they're hard to miss. Figures like Aung Sang Suu Kyi, or the Dalai Lama, or Nelson Mandela, embody these qualities and are universally recognised as being noble and good. But what if we set an intention to look for these qualities in everyone we meet?

We all know what its like when someone sees the beauty in us, and reflects that back to us. The softening, opening, and swelling feeling of having our goodness recognised, without having to fight for it or sell ourselves with a conflated sense of ego. You may experience this in your intimate relationships, particularly in the beginning when a new partner sees only the good in us.

This is not to ignore the flaws of other people, or to accept poor treatment from those in our lives. But to recognise the nobility that exists in others that transcends their view of themselves, their inherent flaws or unacceptable behaviour. A recognition that we're all in this together, that we're all trying our very best at this particular moment, that we all lose our way at times, but that we all seek to be happy.

How?

Firstly set an intention to recognise the innate nobility that exists within ourselves, and those around us.

Choose a day where you feel loving and open. If such days are rare for you at the moment, try your best. This isn't about forcing a feeling or seeing things that you simply don't believe exist. Set an intention for the day that you will notice the good in at least one other person today. Remind yourself of this intention throughout the day, and revisit it at the end of the day and notice how it changed the quality of your relationships - with others and with life.

You can extend this practice, by choosing a day to see the good in others for the entire day. Initially practice this with people who are agreeable and easy to like. You can save the difficult people for when you've built up your practice. Perhaps choose one day a week to engage in this way of seeing. In the beginning you'll need to remind yourself of your intention. After a while it becomes second nature.

Notice in your body how it feels to look for and notice the good in others. Pause for a moment to really drink in how this feels.

As you become more practiced at this, you can start expanding out to people you find difficult, or to days you feel closed and separated from others in your life. Gradually include strangers, shop assistants or people you would normally barely notice.

Eventually you can aim to see the good in everyone you meet. Have fun with it. Pretend you're the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa in disguise. How would they respond to the people in their lives? Practice responding this way for a short time during your day. Notice how this changes you and the way you interact with others.