Just One Thing: See the Good in Others

I’m a big fan of a neuropsychologist named Rick Hanson, Ph.D. He’s the founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, a contributor to Huffington Post and
PsychologyToday.com, and one of those all-around smart-as-hell kind of guys.

What's good in others? If you look at what they're giving, you will find it. (Image: Amy Spencer

A few months ago I went to a seminar he held about the neuroscience of positive thought and happiness and learned more in those eight hours than I would have watching eight hours of one of the The Real Houseswives Of… marathons. Go figure. But I mention Rick today because of something in his weekly newsletter called “Just One Thing” that caught my eye today.

I know that as a dater, it’s typical to walk away from a date thinking either, “What a waste, I could have spent the night watching reality TV” or “That guy or girl was totally playing me.” Either way, you come home from meeting them feeling worse about yourself and dating than you did before you went out! But Rick Hanson reminds us the importance of recognizing good qualities and intentions in others. As he writes in his most recent Just One Thing newsletter:

Unfortunately, if you feel surrounded by lots of bad or at best neutral qualities in others, and only a sprinkling of dimly-sensed good ones, then you naturally feel less supported, less safe, and less inclined to be generous or pursue your dreams. Plus, in a circular way, when another person gets the feeling that you don’t really see much that’s good in him or her, that person is less likely to take the time to see much that’s good in you.

Seeing the good in others is thus a simple but very powerful way to feel happier and more confident, and become more loving and more productive in the world.

I love this. It’s a reminder that no relationship should be taken for granted. Everyone we meet is someone worth paying attention to, giving credence to, learning from. As Rick says, “See the good in others.” We’re all trying to get by in this crazy world, right? And when it comes to dating, we’re all looking for that wonderfully well-suited other half. By paying attention to the good in others—their positive qualities, the parts that make us smile—it puts our attention where it should be, and keeps our focus on the happy angles that count. The more you appreciate others, the more  you’ll tune into the good in yourself and the good in life. And that’s where your half-orange will be.

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Big love,