"When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves." -William Arthur Ward
It is so easy to see 'what is wrong' in a situation, or in a person, or in ourselves. That critical, discerning, judgemental voice just seems to leap into our consciousness unannounced and uninvited.
The havoc this inner critic can cause is unbelievable. It starts out as a small observation (negative, of course) and then the mind is careening down a slippery slope gaining speed as it heaps onto the smallest observation more and more negatives. You find yourself either highly worked up in some type of self-righteousness or emotionally exhausted and completely deflated because you have beaten yourself up.
Why do we do this?
That answer would take all night long. So, I'll pass. We all have some idea why we slip into these places. A possible alternative is what William Ward suggests -- "seek to discover what is best in others." Now he doesn't say 'see the best in others,' he says "seek to discover" and this is key for me as it implies a conscious action and willingness to look beyond a 'flaw' and dig deeper until you discover a treasure. This conscious decision pulls us into an entirely new and brilliant place of opportunity and possibility. For not only can you shift a relationship with another, but you will also shift your own awareness of yourself.
It is the "act" and willingness to discover what is good that allows the best in ourselves to be revealed. Again we are coming down to a simple choice. In the moment, when fear is nipping at your heals, and you feel yourself starting to slip down that slope, put the brakes on a say "Hold on one minute!"
I choose to discover what is best or good in this particular situation, person, or with my 'self'. Try it. You will find a more balanced place to rest.