Although my posts have deviated from the “fitness / training” theme recently, part of our Mission with Girls Gone Strong is to educate and encourage a strong body, mind and character.
The following is from a book titled “Choosing Civility” by Dr. P.M. Forni
Rule #3: Think the Best
“We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the avantage of a good light.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” – Paul of Tarsus
“…I expect that everyone I meet will turn out to be good rather than bad. I have felt this way all of my life. What I find exciting in a new acquaintance is the thought: maybe I’m making a discovery here; maybe someone is entering my life who is nice. That’s what gives me joy: the possibility of goodness. I appreciate exceptional intelligence, I can be charmed by beauty, and I am intrigued by charisma. But I will be moved by goodness. Of course I am aware that not all those I meet can be paragons of goodness. Still, my bet with myself is that they will be nice to me. I think of my goodwill as an unspoken challenge to them and envision that our lives will be made better by our interaction.
There is no doubt that thinking the best of others can boost the quality of your life. Among other things, it will help you establish rapport with many people who otherwise would remain strangers. Be careful, however, not to overdo it. Thinking the best of others can make us dangerously vulnerable. Your optimism should not be unthinking but rather tempered by the right dose of realism. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean that you should trust just anybody with your life. I do wish that I had been more cautious at various times in my life. And yet thinking the best of my fellow human beings remains a very important part of who I am.
So, when it comes to people, have great expectations: it will be good for your soul, and it may touch theirs. At the same time, don’t discount the possibility of unpleasant surprises. If people let you down, don’t rush to judgment, but don’t disregard the disenchanting evidence, either. Sad as it may be, accept that your opinion and feelings are changing. At some point, you may decide to tell the people who have disappointed you about your discontent. Be frank. No matter what their reaction to your frankness may be, you can at least take comfort in thinking that you will have given them a precious chance to learn something about themselves, you, or both.”
I loved this and I thank the dear friend who shared it with me. She said, in short, “We are to think the best of people until they show us otherwise.” – I share this because I live pretty close to this thought process. I agree and prefer to stay open and warm for the opportunity of goodness, rather than shielded and jaded due to disappointment from others and experiences. The risk to be cut deep by some is certainly a tradeoff when it comes to being open, but the reward to feel high high’s far outweigh a shut down and jaded approach to people and life.