Isn’t it funny how we can easily accept flaws in things, yet fixate so much on the flaws of people? You often hear bargain-hunters talk about how a small flaw is easy to live with, especially because they might have otherwise had to pay more for the item if it was perfect. Home-owners commonly talk about how they would never have been able to afford a big house in a nice area if the house did not need any renovations. Yet, we are unable to see that we might have never become friends with the people we complain about if they were as perfect as we sometimes expect. Yes, they might be ‘way out of our league’, if they had it all together like we expect.
In the fast-paced world we live in, we seem to want everything quick and perfect, just the way we like it. Technology and innovation has allowed us to be able to customise so many things, so much so that we have no patience when things are not ‘perfect’ or going according to plan. We enjoy the warm summer months and somehow feel that we have every right to be moody and upset when the cold winter comes. I have even fantasized recently of finding an independent school that opens in the summer and closes in the winter months, so that I could have eight weeks away in a hot country with my family in the coldest weeks of winter! Even those that love their jobs have days when they would rather not be there, but we cannot abandon ship and come to work only on the good days. We push through the bad, so we can enjoy the good.
People often come as a mixed bag too. We all have our issues. Just because someone is nice, does not mean that they will not have annoying qualities too. Friendship is the avenue for discovering both sides of the coin. It is easy to appear perfect from a distance, so comparing our loved ones to acquaintances is never a good idea. People have been known to leave marriages for the sake of a 10% characteristic, forgetting the other 90% good in the one they loved and married, only to find out that there was much less good in their new partner. Obviously, marriage is not as easy as percentages, but the point is to focus on the good. If after weighing the good and the bad, we still feel that a relationship is unhealthy, we can choose to stay or leave.
How many times have you heard young mothers talk about how hard it is looking after their small children? Yet, they hardly ever abandon them for an ‘easier life’. They see beyond the neediness, messiness and clinginess, and focus on the smiles, cuddles and development. When we have a bad day, that is usually the best time to count our blessings and remind ourselves why we started. Think of how much you wanted that career before you became qualified, how much you appreciated her generosity before you found out about the shopping addiction, how much you admired his calmness before you discovered the indecisiveness, how much you enjoyed the outdoors before the snow/rain. Sometimes, all we need is patience to overcome a short time of difficulty or discomfort. In other cases, we need to kindly help bring about the change we want to see, or learn to accept the things/people we cannot change. After all, they might be too good for us if they did not have those flaws! We can refuse to ignore the good in people and situations, so that our perspective of the bigger picture remains clear and balanced. Things really could be worse! Whatever the situation, if we look at the good as well as the bad, not much is really that ugly.