About a year ago a coworker of me explained that focusing on the negative sides of people can make you miserable. He explained it really well and I hope I can give it clarity he had. The man was wise, he chose to leave a job within 3 months because it did not suit him. ( I think he understood the environment was toxic and he didn’t want to be there I cannot speak for him). A brave decision that I wish I did too.
So about choosing NOT to be miserable:
He explained that what you focus on, makes your brain better at recognizing it. In other words: if you focus on the flaws of people, you become better at recognizing flaws in people. If you constantly judge others on their flaws you can become miserable. In fact you are making yourself miserable. But you also have the ability to change that, if you focus your attention on the good sides of people, over time you ‘retrain’ your brain to see those parts, and you will become better at it, and it becomes automatic.
So you can choose to not become miserable due to perceived flaws in others, if you train yourself, simply by paying attention to the good in others. Although leaving a toxic workplace is also a great step forwards.
This fits nicely in the dichotomy of control idea from Stoicism, you might think other people are outside of your control, but how you perceive them is very much under your control. You can see things in people that you think of as good or bad (maybe positive indifference and negative indifference?). I think you have to embrace the reality that most people are good and are just trying to act rationally in the world as they understand it.
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Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash