February 7, 2016

How to Look for the Positive in People

You know what? We’re all flawed. We really are. That means you, and that means me.
Those who think they’re perfect are not living in reality any more than the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. If we have no ongoing problems, temporary glitches are bound to crop up; they always do.

That means that we must make quite a few allowances to nurture healthy relationships. We must accept that some people are unwilling or unable to act according to our desires.

I could type out a list right now of the numerous ways people are disappointing me, but you don’t have hours to read this post.

The situation is endlessly frustrating for all of us. However, if we refused to be in relationships with anyone that upset us, we would live in the world by ourselves. How effective would that be?

So, what is the solution? Obviously, we don’t want to nurture toxic relationships, given a choice. What we can do is try to focus on the positives in each relationship. As sure as every human being has frailties, we all have strengths, too.


Her grown son, Mark, had a severe disease from birth. For most of his life, he was a kind, gentle contributor to society. Then, the illness took over his mind. His thinking became skewed. He met the wrong people. Mark abruptly left his birth family and refused to have any more direct contact with them. Not only that, he attempted to embroil them in legal battles. He even tried to have them killed.

Yet, what does his mother remember? Mark had a loving spirit. He was handy around the house. He had a great relationship with his dad. He was also a great father to his young children.

Brenda sees the man behind the disease, not only the illness. She defines him by his good points.


This friend’s brother, Calvin, recently passed on. He recently made some poor choices. He allowed some addictions to cloud his judgment, which led to his death. His family remains traumatized to this day.

Yet, what does Jeanette remember? She chooses to concentrate on his kindness. Calvin was apparently the glue that kept many relationships together. He took the initiative to keep in contact with friends and relatives alike. Without him, friendships might have dissolved. In addition, there wouldn’t be as many cherished family photos.

Jeanette sees the brother behind the disease, not only the illness. She defines him by his good points.


For the first decades of my life, I made plenty of unwise choices and comments. (Not that I’m perfect now, of course.) These were most likely caused by my skewed thinking. I ate gluten, which my body couldn’t digest.  Therefore, the gluten built up in my body and made a mess—mentally and physically.

There were many who defined me by my awkward behavior and speech. The negativity directed at me was staggering.

Please see more about how I overcame this, as well other inspirational stories, in my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds.

Yet, what do my family and closest friends remember? They recall my persistence. They remember how I’m there for them in times of trial. My family knows that I keep in touch no matter how much distance separates us.

My loved ones continue to define me by my best characteristics, not my disease.

My Conclusion

Regarding the sinner who people were allowed to stone by Jewish law, Jesus said: “... He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”—John 8:7 (KJV)

Nobody wants to be described only by their mistakes, or their disease. Hamlet tells Polonius in Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2:  “Use every man after his desert and who should ‘scape whipping?”

How have you accepted others’ good points?

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