This week during a therapy session I asked an excellent question. It was the kind of question that makes a client glad you’re the therapist. It was the kind of question I should have asked years ago, but somehow missed it because years of dumbness got in the way. It started with the typical question of “What makes a good person?” which inspired the following scale:
- The Best Person
- A Really Good Person
- A Good Person
- A Mehn Person (neither that good nor that bad)
- A Bad Person
- A Really Bad Person
- The Worst Person
For this scale I’d simply define the top half as people who are loving, a Mehn Person as someone you can take or leave, and the bottom half are more about selfishness. To be in the “Good” categories people need to generally have good intentions and some friendliness. Meanwhile, “A Mehn Person” is more robotic than warm. They lack thoughtfulness and the ability to show social initiative like they only say hi if you greet them first. They might use the excuse of being shy, but to others they just come across as a bit rude. When selfishness grows and defensive behaviors take over, the person moves down into the bad categories where they feel sorry for themselves and plan their retaliations. What adds to the complication of this scale is some people are clearly in the good category in public, but at home, they are far from good. Does this mean the core of them isn’t good or do they have two different sides where one is good and the other is bad? I don’t have a definite answer, but it’s a good conversation topic.
This is a good question, but it’s not the point of this post. That’s just a bonus question; you’re welcome. The important question the title refers to came from this scale and is simply: Who is someone in “The Best Person” category? This, of course, was followed up with: Where are you on this scale and how can you grow? These are also great questions, but the first one really stood out because when I asked it, my client and I were both stumped. Is anyone in The Best Person category? What’s sad is while I had a hard time figuring out The Best Person, when the question was, “Who is The Worst Person?” a few candidates immediately came to mind because they are so miserable and incredibly self absorbed.
When trying to think of an example, my mom crossed my mind. The best word to describe her is angelic. She’s incredible at listening, being thoughtful, and giving to those in need. She was so warm and welcoming when I was a kid that my friends were disappointed when I answered the family phone when they called because they wanted to hear her cheerful voice. I would put my mom in the Really Good Person category and not The Best Person, however, because she has an obvious weak area. Last year when I was having issues with some opponents at Ultimate Frisbee, her advice was to simply quit even though playing Ultimate was the highlight of my summer. This was her advice because that’s exactly what she would’ve done. As is the trend in my family, my Mom is very conflict averse and would rather give in to avoid a fight. My mom’s downside is ultimately that she’s too kind because she will accept unfair treatment. If she was to be better at standing up for herself, she would easily be in The Best Person category.
The next day I ended up thinking of someone who fits The Best Person category even though it’s so difficult to achieve, and that’s the director of my company, Kim Christink. What’s incredible is this man was once a pastor (pastors can be good people? What?). What’s even more incredible is I’m writing this without any intention of sucking up (I do that in person). Being in The Best Person category is so difficult because it means you regularly find the balance of strength and warmth, firmness and kindness while balancing your needs with others, and Kim does this. Being in this category means you are self aware and accept both your strengths and weaknesses, which help you be nicer to yourself and less judgemental of others. Not only does Kim do this, he also doesn’t dispense advice and knowledge like a Pez dispenser. Any advice he does offer, he strives to follow it himself. He faces his emotional junk head on and role models a healthy lifestyle. He knows how to be the right amount of vulnerable with others and he’s not afraid to ask for help or consider new ideas. His assertiveness and warmth helped him raise three very well adjusted adult children who lost their mom (Kim’s wife) in a tragic car accident when they were very young. This fact is further evidence that trials aren’t an excuse for bad habits (like in my post three weeks ago) as Kim has overcome great obstacles in order to achieve the classification of being in The Best Person category.
This week may you consider where you are on this scale and what it’ll take to move to the top of the scale to The Best Person category.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people