Have you ever noticed how good a person everyone is when they are remembered at their funerals? Even the ones most fundamentally flawed sound like they were outstanding citizens, despite all their acknowledged faults. While attending one such challenged individual’s funeral, I wondered why we had to wait until people were dead to see them so positively? Why could we not do that while they were alive? That’s not to suggest we should ignore their flaws, especially the serious ones. No. That could be harmful to us, and it would not be helpful to them. I’m suggesting we note their good aspects as starting points when we think of them, before tacking on their flaws, instead of the other way around. It would certainly slow and reduce our rash judgment of others, of which there is far too much happening today.
As for the generally good people in life, thinking this way of them would help us appreciate them more. It may even lead us to share this with them, from time to time, unsolicited, while they were alive rather than after they were dead. This could be done in a number of ways, from just general sharing of gratitude and appreciation, to more formal concepts like gratitude letters, celebrations of life, living eulogies, etc. As good or bad as a person might be, when you think of people in life as you would think of them in death, you will see them in a better light, see them that way more often, and probably end up treating them that way, too.