“Seeing the Good” just might screw you

This week, People magazine featured Elin Nordegren (Tiger Wood’s Ex-Wife) as its cover story. It is the first time she has spoken out since the ordeal of her husband publically slutting himself around with umpteen women behind her back. Her personal marital problem is only a feature story because her husband is the highest paid athlete in the world and his list of indiscretions became public.

At the core, it’s just a run-of-the mill story of a slime-ball and his and laundry list of infidelities. To me this isn’t really “breaking news,” but as I paged through the article I noticed a quote Elin gave which People Magazine highlighted in a sidebar. This quote caught my attention. Elin says….

“I always believe the best of people, and when you do that, you’re going to be really screwed sometimes.”

I loved this quote, it’s raw and honest, but most of all, it’s true.

We find ourselves reciting the homage “See the good in people,” but what we forget is that sometimes...even when we see the good... people suck and that strategy gets us screwed.

I applaud Elin for her reminding the world of this. Mostly though, I thank her for reminding all women of this.

I wish I would have been told this when I started dating. At 15, after I had my first date; I.E, Going to the movies with a boy, without 10 other people (girls do travel in packs). I remember stealing the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” off of my mom’s bookshelf. For some reason I thought that now that I went on a date, I needed to read this book. As if it housed a secret or would explain to me some unspoken rules of the dating world.

Unfortunately, at 15 years old, that book didn’t really provide me with too much information. I remember I stopped reading when the author was explaining “The Man Cave” and the “Rubber Band Theory.” Definitely over my head as a tween.

Ten years later, as I have grown oh so “wise,” since 15 ;) I have heard some shorter explanations about the differences in men and women regarding dating. No longer are we from different planets, but now we have different brains. Hmmm…

It’s often said that men are concrete thinkers. They see the world in black and white. To men something IS, or it IS NOT. Women on the other hand are over-analyzing. Women look INTO things more often than they look AT them. To women something COULD BE or something MAY NOT be.

Elin’s article motivated me to revisit the socially acceptable explanations for the differences between men, women and relationships. Another common adage for dating is this…

Women go into a relationship hoping things will change, while men go into a relationship hoping nothing will ever change.

I don’t know if I completely agree with this one (It is a generalization, which usually pisses people off, but let’s go with it.)

Let’s look at it like this… Women go into a relationship seeing the potential that this man has and hopes that he will reach it. Like seeing a diamond in the rough, so to speak. While a man goes into a relationship because he genuinely likes the women for what she is, not who she could be, and hopes she stays the same.

I feel like that may happen more often than not. That women, “hope for the best” and men already see her for her best. Is this because the man is a concrete thinker from Mars? Maybe, or maybe men just make less of a mess by honestly seeing things and people for what they truly are.

As much as I would like to blame the men for not living up to some potential, they didn’t know we set for them, (notice the sarcasm) the real problem is, us ladies. The problem is that sometimes “Seeing the good in people” backfires. Sometimes, as Elin would say, it leaves us screwed.

So we are faulted for being hopeful? No, that’s not what I’m saying; I guess the bottom line is that we need to set boundaries with ourselves on the extent of “seeing good in people.” I also think it may be safe to say that we should not be going into a relationship hoping a man reaches the potential or goals we set for him.

Truth is, no matter how flowery we word it, if we’re hoping he changes and if we go into a relationship with that hope… well, at this point, we know that we’ve set ourselves up for disappointment. We’re 20something here; we’ve all seen that fail at least a time or two.

We need to “reel in” the “See the good,” it should be an application to things that also involve looking on the bright side, like why you’re stuck in traffic, or missed an appointment, or why you grind your teeth and bear with an annoying co-worker. That’s when we should be applying the “see the good” homage. Not to romantic relationships.

I think there is a time and place for the positive affirmations. “Dance like no one’s watching,” “Live Laugh Love,” “Believe” etc. etc. etc… Truth is, life is hard and the world can be cold and we need those sayings to warm our hearts and keep us chugging along.

Fair enough right?

But let’s not forget the reality of the situation. The reality is this; we should “See the Good” 50% of the time and remember that the other 50% “People Sometimes Suck.”

The trick is to have a healthy balance on these factors of the reality; when to see the good and when to concede that people sometimes suck.

Sadly, no book about planets or quotes about brains can whisper us the answer. Instead, we practice trial and error with our personal attempts at balance.

But just as “People Sometimes Suck” can leave us jaded, well, “See the Good” may force us to stay naïve to the truth. Sometimes “See the Good” forces us to put blinders on our gut instincts and that’s never a good thing.

This I do know, seeing the good may backfire, but following your gut never does. Regardless of how many affirmations you say and how much good you see in people, if your gut tells you that you’re getting screwed, you probably are... and if you have the proverbial blinders on, there may not be anyone to blame but yourself.


No matter how smart, nice, pretty, successful or kind you may be. Even if you’re beautiful and married to the world’s richest athlete, the laws of balance still apply and sometimes people do suck. So always remember that, and, use Elin’s words of wisdom, just as we use those motivating affirmations to arm yourself against that harsh realities of the all too “real world.”

Oh, also, if you find yourself in a relationship hoping that someday this man will change, someday he will reach his potential and then you’ll be happy in the relationship…well ladies… the harsh reality is that in that scenario, YOU Suck. I’m sorry, I had to say it, but sometimes, the truth hurts.

So if that’s you, REEL IT IN and date people who you actually like, not someone you’re motivating/pressuring/waiting to change. Date someone who you just plain like in that moment in time, you know, like guys do. I think it really does make things less of a mess in the long run. Ya know?


“Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” ~Coco-Chanel

“The basic discovery about any people is the discovery of the relationship between men and women” ~Pearl Buck

“Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” ~Katherine Hepburn


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