I had a colleague once—a fellow teacher—who was quite blunt. She spoke her mind regardless of the situation and who else was in the room. She also tended to be fairly impatient and was prone to black-and-white thinking. She was single-minded and did not suffer fools.

On the other hand, this person was one of the most effective classroom teachers I've ever seen. Her lectures were vivid, thoroughly planned and deeply engaging. She gave her students her personal cell phone number and encouraged them to text her—day or night—with homework questions. Professionally, her decision-making framework basically consisted of the question "Is this good for the students?" For her, there were no other stakeholders. She was completely and unambiguously committed to her students' success, and everyone who worked with her knew it.

Her positive and negative attributes were two sides of the same coin. The things that made her challenging to work with (at times) also made her a powerful force for good in her students’ lives. This is true of most of us—our best and worst qualities tend to be bound up together. The trick is to remember this when we’re frustrated with others.

The next time you find yourself frustrated at someone close to you for doing that stupid thing they always do, ask yourself “Could this behavior be a reflection of one of this person’s best qualities?” The answer is often yes. The things that frustrate us most about those we live and work with are often the flip side of what we love and admire most about them.

It’s worth trying to remember.