The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Indifferent

There is something that can be learned from everyone. From the “good” and the “bad”. The kind and the wicked. The gentle and the ruthless. And everyone in between.

We may learn from a person what qualities we aspire to emulate, or what characteristics and actions we want to deliberately avoid in the future.

In fact, we may learn both of these things from the same person.

By the thoughtful, knowledgeable, kind, considerate, insightful, attentive, and selfless, we are inspired to gain or improve these qualities in ourselves.

And from the annoying, difficult, blind, thoughtless, careless, and cruel in our lives, we can learn exactly who and what we don’t want to be.

We learn not to be like:

The “bully” at work or school.

The boss who micromanages everything and everyone.

The boss who doesn’t communicate.

The coworker who doesn’t communicate.

The nosy relative.

The friend who shattered our trust and shared our secret with others.

The mom at the grocery store who yells at her children.

The business leader who expects more output from employees in exchange for little care or compensation.


In every job and position, there are valuable lessons to be learned. Even in a nasty, abusive, toxic workplace, you’re being taught precisely how not to run an organization. – Ryan Holiday

The people who disappoint us can still serve a purpose in our lives, if we’ll let them.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m not for a minute trying to say that what these people do is okay. Only that we can always come away from our interactions with these people stronger and smarter, if we choose to.

Likewise, we may be inspired to emulate:

The peer who reaches out to the new kid at school and makes them feel welcome.

The friend who sets aside their smartphone to give us their undivided attention – the gift of their time.

The friend who chooses to still be friends with us, even when they discover we have little in common politically or in other sensitive areas.

The woman who doesn’t disparage or smear another person – privately or publicly, even when everyone else is doing it.

The one who is brave enough to be vulnerable and share their mental and emotional struggles with another.

The boss who supports work-life balance for her employees, and demonstrates trust and faith in them.

The friend who lives authentically (quirks and “weirdness” and all), and is not trying to copy or impress anyone else.

If you are the person giving people an example of who not to be – and you know it (?) – do not take this as an excuse to continue in your actions. (“Oh, but I’m teaching them a valuable lesson and helping them become stronger by showing them what not to do and who not to be, so it’s OK.”)

I’m not kidding. I actually knew a parent like this, who treated their kid poorly (ignored, belittled him) because it was supposed to help him “develop character”.

If you are in an abusive situation in your home or elsewhere, please get help.

For an international list of helplines, click here.

There is much that we can learn from difficult situations. However, it is also important that we protect the minds and bodies entrusted to our care, to the best of our ability.

Be safe. ❤



© 2017 Kate Richardson All Rights Reserved


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