Society has been teaching us for some time that we need to look for the bad in the world. Look for what’s wrong and what’s flawed and point it out. Not for the sake of doing anything to make it better, but for the sake of tearing others down and making people feel worse about themselves and their lives. This is a horribly damaging way for people to think and act. It also sets up a miserable chain of looking for the bad, seeing the bad, looking for more bad and finding more bad. It’s a never-ending circle unless you take control of your thoughts and actions and make it change.
There is rarely much good that comes from pointing out the worst in others. You may think that if you tell them what’s “wrong” about them you can get them to be “better”, but the fact is that more often than not all you do is hurt people’s feelings, lower their self-esteem, cause them to close down and turn them into worse people. There is such a thing as constructive criticism, but usually people are just pointing out what they don’t like about someone else, and not really trying to help them.
When you point out the positive in other people, you improve their self-esteem, give them confidence, help them become happier and generally make their lives better. Many people feel ugly, unwanted, and lacking in many ways. Just a single word of praise or encouragement can shift someone’s day, and maybe even their entire life. When we uplift those around us we’re being good people and making those around us better, which builds a better society in general.
Do you like it when people insult you or your abilities? Does it make you feel good? Does it make you like the person saying it to you? The answer to all of those is a resounding “no”. So why would you ever do it to someone else? It always feels better when someone is good to you, says positive things and encourages you. When you feel better about yourself you’re more likely to be a better person and do better things. It sets up a cycle of happiness and improvement rather than a cycle of sadness and stagnancy.
I recommend making it a habit to say good things to other people. Take the time to look for good in others. Normally, most people totally overlook good things and only notice the bad. We need to shift our minds away from that and into a mode where we’re looking for the good. Does your friend have on a pretty blouse today? Tell her. Does your cousin look healthy today? Say so. Did your wife handle the fit the baby had with grace? Thank her. Look for things to praise and compliment people for. Don’t go overboard, we’re not trying to pad anyone’s ego, we’re just trying to show that we notice and are grateful. And watch the person’s face when you unexpectedly say something nice to them about how they look, how they’re behaving or what they’ve accomplished. They’ll just about glow.
It may take time for some people to get used to having people say nice things about them, so be patient. They may wonder what your motives are or if you’re lying. Unfortunately many people only give compliments and encouragement as a form of manipulation, be sure not to become one of those people. Do it because it’s a good thing, and for no other reason. Always be honest and assure anyone who may be wary of your words that you’re just being kind and honest. Over time they’ll learn to trust you and take the good feelings that you’re offering to them.
Complimenting and pointing out the good in others can be made easier if you take some time to think about the negative things you normally say. Is what you’re saying just your opinion? For example, thinking someone’s dressed badly. If they’re not overexposed or unsanitary, then it’s just your opinion, and not something they need to hear about. Will what you’re saying help them? If you think someone’s lazy (which may just be your opinion) will telling them help? Could you maybe instead offer them ideas on how to do more? Is what you’re saying just cruel? Calling someone names only tears them down. Can you shift and say something that will uplift them instead? And of course, before you say something to another person, take a moment to consider how you’d feel if someone was saying it to you. If you wouldn’t like it, don’t let it pass your lips (or fingers, as the case may be).
You should always try to uplift those around you. The happier and better they are, the better they’ll be to you and to others. It will spread from one person to another and create a positive ripple effect. It’s also just a good habit to look for the good in people and the world. And don’t forget, As you point out the good in others, they’ll point out the good in you too. You may learn of wonders inside yourself that you never even knew existed.