Ever find yourself thinking, why do I always see the good in people? You’re not the only one. According to a recent study conducted by Yale University, Oxford University, and University College London, and published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, as humans, our brains are programmed to forgive transgressions.
When conducting the study, strangers had to decide whether they would send an electrical shock to another person in exchange for money. You would think that the participants on the receiving end of the electrical shocks would have a negative impression about those that went forward with the shocks in exchange for money, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. While they had a positive view of the people that didn’t shock them, they “were less confident in condemning the person making the immoral decisions.”
Going even further, when the “bad” strangers switched up their bad choice for a generous one, the participants’ impressions of them quickly changed to be more positive.
Professor Molly Crocket, from Yale University, told Telegraph of the study’s findings, “We think our findings reveal a basic predisposition towards giving others, even strangers, the benefit of the doubt.”
Essentially, we want to see the good in people. And when we see the bad, we don’t want to characterize someone off those negative moments.
This may play into why you’re willing to give your ex chance after chance to prove they’ve changed. Your ex does something that hurts you, and later goes out of their way to be good to you, so you opt to see the good and forgive the bad.
Our tendency to forgive could be the very thing keeping us in unhealthy relationships. We can accept that having a forgiving nature is human, but should recognize that forgiveness does not require us to stay in a toxic situation.