Whenever I meet someone I try to look for their positive qualities, which immediately gives me a feeling of connectedness with them.– Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
When you meet someone, either a new person, or a person you have known for some time, you have a choice. You can look for all their negative qualities, or you can look for all their positive qualities.
It’s a common device used in television and movies. There is someone, usually an older person, who can list all the negative qualities in a person. “They wear their hair too long, and their skirts too short!” might be something they would say.
Is that how you wish to be known, the person who is always complaining? I would rather be known as the person who always has a smile on their face and a kind word on their lips.
By seeking their positive qualities, the quote tells us that we can find common ground, and feel a level of connectedness with them. That sounds like a better way to greet someone than to first try to find all their negative qualities, right?
Why is feeling connected with others important?
When you greet someone, it’s nice to feel like you have some kind of a connection with them. Often it is a common friend who introduced you, or the pursuit of a common interest. That gives you something to talk about, and helps with the formation of some connection between you.
In situations where there aren’t any ready-made things to help connect you, as in the paragraph above, today’s quote could come in handy. By looking at them, and trying to see some of their positive qualities, you have something with which to start making a connection.
Even something as superficial sounding as a compliment on their clothing, hair, posture, manner or smile is a start. Most people like to talk about themselves, and by starting with a compliment that leads into an explanation, you have broken the ice and started forming some connections.
Where can I apply this in my life?
In the example above, I mentioned starting with a compliment of someone’s more superficial positive qualities. That works well with a generic gathering where you have no other connection with anyone.
However, if you are at a party, you might ask how they came to know the host, and work from some of the qualities they express in their answer. If it is at a benefit party, you know they have some level of support for the charity or beneficiary, and you can work from that quality.
But life is not all parties, right? What about at work? You should have some idea of what some of the positive qualities of your co-workers are, right? It might be their expertise in a subject matter, a dedication or enthusiasm, or some other positive quality.
Even something as mundane as the grocery store can lead to the use of this quote. Their cart can tell you about some of their positive qualities (thrift, health, etc). What is the other person buying? Have you ever tried it? Do you like it? Even if you don’t like it, did you try something similar that you might mention to the other person?
Have you ever seen someone with a T-shirt on with an image or message that you consider to be a positive quality? Would that be a great way to start a conversation, and have a feeling of consecutiveness?
While some of these examples may seem a bit trivial, some of my greatest friendships have begun with a simple connection based on a positive quality. And I have found that starting a conversation by pointing out a person’s less-than-positive qualities isn’t exactly the best way to develop a feeling of consecutiveness with the other person.
And for those of you who have read this post all the way to the bottom, you have dedication to the task, and some level of interest in the subject. These positive qualities help me feel like we have connected in at least a small way. And that’s what today’s quote was about, right?