Other people are flawed -- they're badly flawed. They're selfish, they're mean, they're cheap, they're sloppy, they're lazy and, in most cases, they're completely unwilling to even acknowledge they're doing anything wrong -- no matter how many times we point it out to them.
People are hopelessly flawed. They always good and bad, and they probably always will be.
The only real hope we have for creating peace is for us to start seeing people for who they really are, both the good and the bad, and to not let their flaws keep us from enjoying them.
I know why we get frustrated: "But you don't know my in-laws; they're awful"; "The guy who cheated me on that business deal, he can never be forgiven; that was my life savings!"; "You have no idea how much my spouse has hurt me."
I've been there myself, and I have no doubt that you've been wronged. I'm not suggesting that you put up with mistreatment. But at a certain point, we have to get over ourselves and make peace with the fact that other people are dysfunctional.
People are flawed, but they're also fabulous. If we want to have any relationships in our life at all, we're going to have to start seeing some of their redeeming qualities, or we'll drive ourselves nuts.
And we're going to have to admit that maybe we're not right about everything, because there's one person's flawed and fabulous nature we don't talk about: our own.
It's true; you're probably just as flawed and fabulous as all the people you're frustrated with. The trouble is, as hard as it is to accept the flawed and fabulous duality in others, sometimes it's even harder to accept in ourselves.
We're usually either trying to pretend we're perfect, or we're beating ourselves up because we're not. We're either trying to prove we're right, or we're terrified that we're wrong.
Much of the drama we create around the misdeeds of others is just our ego's way of justifying our own position. But you can't make peace with the flawed and fabulous nature of others until you make peace with your own flawed and fabulous self.
We're never going to get rid of our flaws any more than we're ever all going to agree on politics, religion or sofa fabric.
But if we can make peace with the fact that we're all flawed, and we're also all fabulous, and that no one person is right about everything, things will start to change -- not just in our personal relationships, but in our businesses, our communities and, lofty as it sounds, perhaps in the world.
When we acknowledge that good and bad exists within each of us, we no longer have anything to prove, to ourselves or to anyone else. The moment we decide to redirect our energy away from attacking and defending is the very moment that we open up a space to create something better, for ourselves and for others.
You can't create greatness if you're locked in the middle of a debate. And you won't find peace if your only goal is to get your way.
It is only by lifting our hearts and minds to a larger vision that we can become who we were truly meant to be: flawed and fabulous people who appreciate their fellow humans, even when they're driving us nuts.
Excerpted from my newest book, "The Triangle of Truth: The Surprisingly Simple Secrete to Resolving Conflicts Large and Small"
Lisa Earle McLeod is a keynote speaker, author, columnist and business consultant who specializes in sales and leadership training. Her newest book, "The Triangle of Truth," has been cited as the blueprint for "how smart people can get better at everything." Visit www.TriangleofTruth.com for a short video intro.