The Misperceptions of Positive Judgment


 I was always told as a child to think the best of people, because people are at their core good. It became my modus operandi to live this way and as I grew older I never questioned that this way of being would actually be at the root cause of my perpetual state of confusion and disappointment with many of the people I got close to.

Maybe some of you who are reading this are too young to remember the show: ‘Leave it to Beaver’? I remember watching this show when I was a very little girl and thinking, “Wow, they are the perfect family.” This sitcom defines the wholesomeness of 1950s and 1960s TV, where the dad Ward Cleaver, always gets home in time for dinner; the mom June, with her neatly styled hair, cleans the house wearing a perfectly ironed dress and pearl earrings, and the kids Wally and the Beav always realize the errors of their ways and promise to do better next time. This sitcom gave everyone a peak into the world of the ‘good people’ and created hope in all those who faithfully watched episode after episode, that no matter how challenging their own relationships with friends or family might be, they just had to remember that ultimately everyone is good at heart.

This positive judgment of goodness or being good no matter what was further imprinted into my consciousness from an early age when I dutifully went to church with my family. Iremember the minister saying during one Sunday sermon, “Do unto others as you would do unto yourself.” So between ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and the Sunday sermons, I was primed to be a good girl who always expected others to be good too. I had learned that good girls don’t complain, have good table manners and always say please and thank you. It takes a lot of energy to always be good. I kept working hard at it though, because I wanted my mother and father’s approval.

In my teen years I was accused of being quite naïve. People often said, “You only see the best in everyone. It’s like you have blinders on and can’t see the whole person for who s/he really is.”How true those words were but I didn’t get it then. I kept trusting people and believing that they were good. I even sometimes confided in my closest friends about my deepest secrets believing that they would never betray me. Inevitably, those secrets were told to other classmates who told other classmates until my whole class knew everything about me. I heard people whispering and giggling as they walked down the hall past me. I was totally devastated and confounded. I couldn’t understand why people were acting like this. I thought people were meant to be good at heart but I was now experiencing something totally different – how some people enjoyed hurting and humiliating others. None of this made sense to me so I chose not to believe that some people really were unkind.

In my 30’s I moved to Asia and lived in South Korea for a year teaching English as a foreign language. I was excited by the idea of living abroad and discovering a new culture. Once again I headed into this situation with positivity and  a strong belief that everyone is good. I had my blinders on and didn’t see or expect anything bad to happen. Why would it? I knew I was a good person and treated other people with respect, so of course I would be treated in kind. Weeks passed and I started to realize that the woman I was co-teaching with, Mrs. Kwan, had never asked me to have lunch together or even go out for dinner. I shrugged it off thinking that she must be busy. Then one day she came to me and apologized saying, “I’m sorry, but I can’t invite you to my home for dinner, because my mother in law doesn’t like foreigners.” I was confused as I had never encountered blatant racism before. She smiled a false smile and walked away. I could feel my heart drop as I realized that no one at the school had ever bothered to befriend me except one woman, Mrs. Anh. How had I not seen the truth? I realized in that moment that my modus operandi was not working! I had spent over 30 years of my life always believing that everyone is good at their core and in total denial that people could be bad too. This denial is why I was continuously getting disappointed and hurt by others. I finally understood that I had to take off my blinders and really see all of who people were – the good, the bad and the ugly. I realized that I was pretty much alone in this small Korean village where foreigners were just tolerated but not really welcome. After my one year contract was up, I moved to Indonesia and began a new life.

I have been living on this glorious island of Bali since 2002. While I still sometimes slip into positive judgments of people and choose not to see their bad sides, I now understand the importance of not getting caught in the illusory web of ‘beautiful, amazing, wonderful and fabulous’. While those qualities certainly exist in us all, there is also the flip side which is not so lovely, but it’s real. By being willing to acknowledge and receive all of who someone really is, we are also receiving all of who WE are. Yes, it’s a bit tricky as sometimes we can tilt too far one way and become cynical. The key is being aware of everything that person is and being in allowance of all of it. Good and bad are both judgments anyway. If we don’t align and agree or resist and react to either, we can live a truly joyful life.


Michele is a Shaman, hypnotherapist, Consciousness Facilitator, and retreat leader in the international arena. Her highly empathic nature and inherent gifts as a healer, together with her extensive training in a wide variety of healing methods enables her to assist people with numerous issues spanning from anxiety, low self esteem, emotional traumas and much more. She offers private sessions, workshops & retreats on and off Bali. Michele loves facilitating a different possibility for everyone she encounters.

For questions or comments about this column, pleaseemail:<>


You can read all past articles of Pathways at

Copyright 2017 Michele Cempaka