Remembering one concept has been incredibly helpful with difficult situations over the years. When someone is behaving in a way I find problematic, is opposing what I find is right, or generally acting "crazy", it is incredibly useful to remind myself that, in their telling
of the story, they will somehow be the hero. Spending time figuring out how that can be has given me valuable insight and let me find win-win solutions that were seeming intractable
Or the victim. A lot of actual villains think of themselves as having been made a villain. The story is often that they realized through their own victimization that non-villains were just prey, or that the reason they are bad now is because someone or something destroyed all of the good within them.
As they say about paranoia, sometimes they really are out to get you. But you probably shouldn’t live life assuming that all the time.
I've generally tended towards an optimistic bias and that is in part because I don't see things in black and white terms. I've long said things like "A stove can burn you and a knife can cut you, but you also need both to put a meal on the table."
That's not some Pollyanna view with rose colored glasses. That's an honest assessment that anything that contains power to accomplish something contains power to do good or harm.
As you get better at extracting the positives, the occasional burn looms less large in your mind. You rejigger those calculations and spend more time appreciating the many hot meals you ate and less time complaining about the occasional blister that was involved.
Young people sometimes take good things for granted because a lot of the positives in their lives were given to them by their parents. If you stop seeing it as a given, you are more grateful that anything ever goes right and your mental accounting shifts.
It's not denial or white washing. It's just a change in perspective.