Finding The Good In People

Cheerful bee carries a bucket of honey

The fly seeks filth, the bee seeks honey. I will shun the habit of the fly and follow that of the bee. I will refrain from finding faults in others and look only for the good which is in them.

Hindu Monastic Vow

When my older daughter was in pre-school I made a very close friend. 
We often got together with the children and shared the ups and 
downs of motherhood and balancing a career. Most of all we shared a 
lot of laughter. After a few years of really enjoying each other’s 
company, we had a disagreement about a particular situation at the school. My friend got very upset and started to 
yell and scream at me. She even engaged in name-calling. We obviously saw the situation very differently but she acted in a way that I had never seen her act before. I tried to approach her several times about what happened, but we just ended up arguing again.

After a few weeks of feeling uncomfortable and hurt, I 
decided that I didn’t want a friendship with someone who could get angry so easily and attack me like that.  I pulled away from the relationship. Our children were still friends and we were pleasant with each other, but for me it was not the same.

Months later, a mutual friend started to have 
real difficulty with her marriage and was heading for divorce. This friend of mine that had yelled and screamed at me was so kind and loving towards our troubled friend. I saw all of the kindness and generosity in her that I had witnessed during our best times together. We began to spend some afternoons with our mutual friend,
 laughing and enjoying ourselves like we had in the past. I realized that I had forgotten all of her beautiful qualities because I was so focused on the one I did not like.

So what happened here? I completely shut down when I didn’t like what I saw in my friend and turned my back on everything that was so wonderful about her.  How often do we do this when we have a mishap with a friend or family member and we see something or a few things about them that we don’t care for? Maybe they disappointed us when we needed them, excluded us from a gathering or acted or said 
something hurtful to us. We harp and harp on what is wrong with others like flies looking for filth, instead of acting like the bees and finding the sweet and
 magnificent things about them.

I am not saying that the people in our lives are not responsible for their behavior or that we shouldn’t feel hurt, but Maybe we need to gain a larger perspective on our relationships. 

For some reason, my friend lost her cool that day and Maybe we would never agree on what happened. Yet, when I made the effort to look at who she is on the whole, I saw again that she is a wonderful human being whose friendship I really enjoy.  I almost threw it all away because I saw one quality in her I did not like.

Maybe we can all spend some time today thinking about the special qualities of the people in our lives.
 There is a sweetness to the moments we share together when we are open 
enough to seek the good in people.

16 Comments on “Finding The Good In People”

  1. Russ Wollman says:

    When the heart dominates, when love dominates, it’s easy to find honey. That can be difficult because life is demanding and busy. It just takes a little quiet time, a willingness to embrace the silence and see the finer emotions surrounding the core of our being. They are always present.

    Nice work, Allison Carmen! All my very best to you and yours, Russ

  2. I love this message, Allison. It definitely is not easy to do this but so important that we do. Where there is dark, there is light; where their is sorrow, there is joy; where there is anger, there is love. I’m so happy you and your friend have found a place where you can enjoy each other again. Thank you for your inspiring work!

  3. So glad you said that Carmen. I am best friends with my daughters’ step-mom. She had a lot if insecurity about me and she has a lot of insecurity stemming from childhood-which is when insecurity is fomented in all people. She perceived most of what I did as trying to hurt her. I was resentful at first and we didn’t talk for a couple of years, but then I grew emotionally. I realized we had similar backgrounds. I started trying to understand her insecurities instead of choosing to feel offended. I told myself come hell or high water that I wasn’t giving up on her. She’s beginning to trust me where she hasn’t trusted anyone before. It’s been difficult but her friendship is worth the effort.

    It’s obvious your friend has mental health issues. If you start reading my material it will help you understand her thinking and I say this because all people suffer-to some degree-from a lack of self-love and self-respect, taking personal responsibility for our choices to think, feel, and behave. The most important facts are a.) that most people are unaware that “they” are the root of their problems-not anyone else b.) if they become aware they don’t understand “why”. Your friend has a higher degree of self-disrespect and self-loathing or she wouldn’t have acted the way she did. I hope she will start loving and respecting herself so she can truly love and respect others.

    • I honestly dont know why she acted the way she did. Sometimes people have trouble managing the energy of anger. I don’t know if I would classify her as having a “mental illness” but definitely a lack of self-awareness. I am glad you have pursued a relationship with your daughters’ step mom. I read some of your blogs and I hope there is more peace between you and your x husband and your daughters. You appear very thoughtful and concerned for others. A beautiful influence for two young girls.

      • Thank you. I appreciate your consideration. I have been working to understand him. Having thought about my observations of him and the 16 personality types…and the five love languages…it is in his nature to desire winning and his love language is acts of service and occasionally verbal affirmation…the opposite of me. It would be wrong of me to fault him for being different then me-as I once was wrong and I although I dislike his air of superiority I know it is to hide a deeper insecurity and that affords me compassion for him.

  4. One more thing…thank you for realizing and not giving up on her, but in the same breath don’t tolerate verbal abuse…of any kind. Read my page on verbal abuse, because it’s more complicated than most people realize. We let people get away with a whole lot of disparaging because society deems it as a socially acceptable form of communication. If anyone ever belittles you, dismisses you, or worse, you say respectfully, ” I don’t accept your disrespect. If you want to have a mutually respectful conversation let me know” and then walk away from the abusive person and environment.

    • I appreciate what you are saying. Sometimes I do say something but sometimes I truly do not need to. My non acceptance of abuse does not always need to be spoken. The inner world is a wonderful thing. Freedom comes from my seeing the truth and not always speaking or trying to defend it. Sometimes love just prevails in my heart and none of it really matters.

  5. Patinspire says:

    A wonderful post. You echo my sentiments quite eloquently. Too many times the good things about people are blinded by the dance of human error and the parade of mistakes. I was speaking to a colleague a while back about this very said thing. The discussion was around,,,,When you look at people what do you see? Do you see their heart? Do you see their imperfection? Imperfection is universal. Their heart though is quite unique. Seeing the best in people help us to see the beauty in the world and develop relationships. We get a glimpse of where people aspire to be and understand where they might be on their journey :)
    Have the best week!

  6. Maggie May says:

    When you write I can feel your spiritual strength. I’m so glad you write this blog.

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