You know those people — the ones who always tell you how nice you look when you know your clothes are wrinkled and you haven't brushed your hair. The ones who compliment the wild hooligans you call your children. The ones who always make you feel good about any meager service you give. The ones you look forward to running into because you know they will always leave you feeling a little bit better about yourself.
Yes, those people. They always manage to find something good to say to and about everyone. They are powerful influences for good and scatter sunshine wherever they go. Chances are, there is a validator in your family.
I wonder, though, what happens to them at the end of the day.
I always assumed that the more they gave, the better they felt about themselves. Maybe that is true. But I would bet they would love to hear a little bit of good about themselves once in a while.
I think it is easy to see the bad in people. There are a number of reasons we do this:
Having been hurt
It may start out with being hurt so badly that we begin to lose faith in other people.
The belief that people are naturally bad
If we believe that people are inherently evil, we won't be so surprised or hurt when they do and say mean things to us.
To feel better about ourselves
If we deliberately focus on the bad in people to feel better about ourselves for not trying harder, we can eventually stop seeing the good in people altogether.
It makes more work for us
Sometimes it's harder to find the good in people than to pick apart their faults.
If we allow this to go on, we can lose all faith in mankind. Eventually, we just exist in a quagmire of self-indulgent muck that clouds our opinion of everyone and everything. The world becomes a dark place to live. We look at the sunshine scatterers and even find ulterior motives for what they do.
There is a way out of this vicious cycle:
Look for something good in everyone you meet
This takes work. Here's a good place to start: this person is a child of God. This person was once cradled in a mother's arms.
Look beneath the surface
When you come across someone with an ugly heart, ask yourself what could possibly have happened to them to make them this way. Then find a way to love them. If you can't find a way to love them, pray for that ability. God will help you. That person is His child and deserves to be recognized as such.
Once you have learned to see something good in everyone, tell them about it, especially the ones who always have something good to say. They need validation as well.
Every morning, pray to see the good in people and to be that person who makes others feel good about themselves.
Keep track of your efforts
Every night, recount the good things you have discovered in people and thank God for that ability.
I have experienced the kind of traumatic pain that left me seeing the world as a very dark place. I lost faith. The darkness nearly extinguished the last bit of fire I had left. It wasn't until I began to see the good in others around me that I was able to re-kindle that flame. It was a lot of work, but worth the effort. I am finally at peace. I am finally able to scatter a little sunshine myself to those around me. My faith in people is back.
If there is no validator in your family, become the first. If there is, make a special effort to validate the validator. They are often overlooked, and probably eager for your kind word.