This is a story that my Grandmother told to teach me that sometimes people are a reflection of us:
There was once a wise old man who was sitting on a bench outside a town; this particular day, he was sharing his bench with a passing stranger, just shooting the breeze so to speak.
From the North came a car with a family and all their worldly possessions in it and they stopped beside the bench to speak to the wise old man (not, of course, that they knew he was wise!lol)
"Excuse me," started the father in the family, "Can you please help us?"
"I will try," said the wise old man
"Well," continued the Father, "We have had to move recently and are looking for a town to settle in and make our new home. Can you please tell us, what are the people like in that town?"
"Hmmm..." mused the Wise Old Man, "You tell me, what were the people like in the town you have just left?"
"Oh..." humphed the Father, "They were awful! Gossips, snooty, unfriendly and the town was a mess! To be honest we were so happy to see the back of that nasty place!"
The Wise Old Man paused for a bit and then said "I'm very sorry to have to tell you this but you'd best be moving on as this town is exactly the same as the town you left, the people in this town are no different to the people in the town you left. You will not be happy here at all!"
"Thanks so much for the heads up!" gasped the astonished Father, "I'm so glad to know that, we won't waste our time going in there then! Thank you so much!"
Then they drove away.
The Wise Old Man and the passing stranger carried on with their conversation, when before long a second family drove in from the North and just as the last family did, they stopped along side the bench and spoke to the Wise Old Man.
"Hello," said the Father in the family, "Please can we ask for your help?"
Again, just as before, the Wise Old Man says that he will try.
And again, just as with the last family, the father in this family asks what the people in the town are like as this family also are looking for a new place to settle.
Just as with the last family, The Wise Old Man asks the father to describe what the people were like in their last town.
"Oh!" says the Father in excitement, "They were wonderful! The nicest group of people you could ever meet, so friendly, helpful and generous! They took great pride in their town and its appearance and honestly it was so hard to leave them because they were so good to us! We sure are going to miss our old friends!"
The Wise Old Man paused for a bit, again as before and then said "I'm very happy to tell you that this town is exactly the same as the town you left, the people in this town are no different to the people in the town you left. You will be so happy here!"
"That is fantastic!" exclaimed the Father, "We're so glad to have been able to speak to you! Thanks so much!"
And happily the family drove into town ready to start their new life.
After the family had driven into town, the passing stranger turned to the Wise Old Man and said, "Hey! What gives!? You just told those two families two totally different stories! What are the people really like in that town?"
" I don't know," said the Wise Old Man, "I don't even live in that town!"
"WHAT!?!" gasped the passing stranger in astonishment, "You're a mean old liar!"
"No I'm not." The Wise Old Man calmly corrected, "I told them the truth, both of them. The first family would never have been happy in that town because they expected to be treated badly and their only focus was on the negative aspects of their last town, they would find fault with the people in this town too in no time at all!"
"But what about the second family?" asked the confused and not so wise passing stranger.
"The second family looks for the good in people, they had nothing but praise for their previous town, they will therefore be perfectly happy in this town too!"
"I don't get it.." muttered the passing stranger (obviously a bit unwise.lol)
"One town is the same as another." councelled the Wise Old Man, "People are people, some a good and a few not so good, but as a whole, if you look for the good in people collectively, you will find it...just as when you choose to focus on the negative aspects in a town or in people collectively you will find them. Either way people will reflect the way you see them. What you look for, you will find...every time."
THE MORAL: Look for the good in people and you will not be disappointed, look for the bad in people and they will live up to your expectations... and while you are looking at people, just think about who is looking at you and what they might see.