It’s an easy trap to fall into, to focus on the good in everyone.
It seems like the right thing to do.
See the good bits, focus on the happy times, let the negative stuff or “bad emotions” slide on by.
I see a lot of this in my friends, and I’ve seen it in myself as well.
It’s a societal thing:
Fetishization of the positive.
By focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative (except when it rears it’s ugly head and barfs in our Cheerios, demanding to be noticed, making us yell and fight and scream, until we can shove it back into it’s dark little cage in the corner and lock it back up, to be ignored…until the next blowup), we are teaching the people around us that they are not loved for who they are.
They are loved when they are perfect.
We’re doing exactly the wrong thing, pretending there is nothing wrong with our loved ones
We are not seeing our partners, our friends.
We are not listening to them.
We are ignoring everything that is not happy and good and fun times, and pushing all the other bits into the farthest corners of our closets like unwanted step children.
We are saying, “You are loved in spite of these pieces of you. Please don’t bring them around too often to spoil the fun.”
Each of us knows our flaws. Deeply and pervasively.
To have others not even acknowledge they exist, can lead to the experience of feeling like a fraud, like we don’t deserve what we have, or that when we are found out, it will all come crashing down.
Which leads to deepening insecurities, acting out, trying to be seen and heard, and redirecting serious issues into insignificant channels, so the “badness” won’t be discovered.
So, what do we do?
We love our people. All of them. Even the bad stuff.
Because, let’s face it, the negative stuff has helped shape them into who they are today.
I’m not saying support the negative stuff, or encourage it.
I’m saying accept it. Talk about it. Try to understand it.
And love them because of all of who they are, not in spite of it.