In interactions with close friends, casual acquaintances, shifty eyed neighbors, overly complimentary coworkers, and bitter ex-girlfriends, I’m learning one simple truth…
Reality: People have a lot of good qualities and a lot of bad qualities (the good and the bad being purely subjective judgements).
Easiest way to live: Forget people’s bad qualities, and remember their good qualities.
This isn’t some hippie comment about the goodness of people, and that we all should get along. It’s just me acknolwledging that in the long run, life is easier and relationships are more fulfilling if you focus on the good in people (both in their character traits and in their actions).
I have complained about people at times to vent. And I think that’s okay. I grew up in a culture where high-tension confrontational food fights is a way of life. Russians are quick to elevate their voices in arguing about the smallest things. But after the heat of the moment dissipates, there’s always a choice: keep a grudge or let it go. Letting go is the right answer for me 99% of the time.
I’m not preaching forgiveness either, just a message that we are all mortal and will be dead pretty soon, and that assigning immense amount of value to truthy chunks left over from irrational bickering distracts from the few days of contentment that we get to enjoy before it’s all gone.
Get angry only if it’s really needed to send a message in the short term for the better or if it will help you make a positive change. But otherwise, just let it go.
This is something that I enjoy doing, maybe it sounds stupid, but it works for me. If I’ve learned anything about my obsessive brain, it’s that thinking “that guy is an asshole” will quickly turn to “i hate that guy” if I let it. And if you’re not careful that will lead to the worst thing you can imagine… an un-friending on Facebook.