Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being
You get what you expect
The Pygmalion Effect experiment carried out by Rosenthal and Babad showed that positive expectations of teachers had a positive effect on their pupils. In essence, the pair randomly selected 20 pupils of mixed ability and told the teacher they were expected to bloom. The experiment lasted 8 months. At the end of that time, the results for the 20 chosen pupils were significantly higher than they would have ordinarily expected. The belief and positive regard of the teacher had subconsciously affected the effort and ability of the pupils involved. This is clear evidence that if you treat people as if they were what they ought to be, they do become what they are capable of being.
Believing in others
It’s hard to believe in others if they have let you down or done something which violated your values. You have to remember though that none of us is perfect and we all do things we regret. It takes a mature person to forgive someone or look at them in the best light if they haven’t in the past lived up to expectations. The big payoff here is by forgiving others, you are forgiving yourself. To treat people as if they were what they ought to be, you need to have a vision of what that looks like.
For me personally, I believe there is good in everyone. When I see bad behaviour or contradictory values, I struggle. I struggle to see them in the best light. However, with years of practice, it has become easier. I know now that if I treat people as if they have a good side: As if they will behave well: If I expect the best from them, then usually it is the best I get. If I’m not receiving the best from people around me, it’s because I am blocking the good and not seeing this. That’s not to say we should keep in the way of poor behaviour or have our values violated. However, when we turn our focus to the best of those people we will eventually see the good. Even if this is at a distance!
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