That evil and misfortune have their charm is no secret to anyone, or at least it shouldn't be a secret to the sharpest minds. Although wonderful little and big things happen in the world every day, the headlines and news only mention misfortunes. It is not that the world is ending or evil has suddenly taken over, it is a simple cognitive bias caused by an evolutionary mechanism that makes us focus on the danger, rather than on the positive things, so that we can plan strategies that allow us to avoid such risks.
Not even psychologists have managed to escape the fascination of the dark side. In 2002, psychologists Delroy Paulhus and Kevin Williams analyzed the minds of what we would popularly refer to as "bad people" and discovered the "dark triad of personality," three characteristics that sublimate the essence of evil. Since then, the dark core of the personality - composed of narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy - has attracted a lot of attention.
Focus on the dark side, until now no one had considered the light to ask what characterizes "good people". We are not talking about those who donate just to get recognition or who offer help to get the favor paid or receive one in return, but of those people who shine with their own light, who share what little they have, who improve our lives and pass on a pleasant positive energy when they are next to us.
The luminous triad
A group of psychologists from the universities of Pennsylvania and Hawaii wondered if there was a bright triad that differentiated "good people." Within a short time, they subjected 1.518 people to various personality tests, as well as evaluating other aspects such as life satisfaction and achievement.
They then discovered that there are three characteristics that distinguish and characterize good people:
1. Humanism. It implies understanding that every person is worth, that he brings something with his own uniqueness and must be treated with the dignity he deserves, without contempt.
2. Singing. It means relating to people in an authentic way, for the pleasure that the relationship itself gives, not using them as a means to achieve a personal goal.
3. Faith in humanity. It involves believing in human goodness, believing that everyone - including ourselves - has something good and, above all, that we have the power to change and grow.
The positive - and the negative - of being a good person
The bright triad was more common in women, people with a high level of spirituality, and those who had a happy childhood. Psychologists found that these people were also more self-aware, autonomous and competent. Other characteristics that accompany the luminous triad are: compassion, empathy, kindness and openness to new experiences.
Good people showed greater satisfaction in their lives, had calmer egos - meaning they didn't need to continually seek external approval - they had developed a secure attachment and felt more gratitude for life.
But it's not all "roses and flowers". Good people also tend to feel more guilt, they may feel they don't deserve the happiness or successes they have achieved. They also tend to suffer from what researchers described as "almighty responsibility," meaning they care a lot about the people they love, even if they are apparently okay.
The bright triad is also linked to greater "loving-kindness", which in some cases can make these people more vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by others, as they tend to justify their behavior.
The lights and shadows coexist in each of us
These psychologists found that we all have a dark side and a positive side, even though they claim that the average person is slightly more prone to the bright triad in their thoughts, behaviors and emotions.
If we want to advance on the path of personal growth, we must be aware of our lights and shadows by abandoning the labels of good and evil to understand ourselves as unique beings. If you wish, you can take the light triad test and find out your score in the dark triad.