What Are You Saying?

Gwen Randall-Young

“You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.“ ~Leo Aikman

Have you ever noticed that nice people never have a bad word to say about anyone. No doubt they have the same frustrations with family, neighbors, and co-workers as everyone else, but they have decided to approach life differently.

First, they strive to avoid being critical or judgmental: they let a lot of things go and try to see the best in others.

Secondly, they do not replay in their minds or with others the faults or perceived wrongdoings of others. Each day is a new day and they do not hold grudges.

 These people experience a lot less stress, and in general tend to be happier with themselves and their lives. They live in the same world as the rest of us, but it is all a matter of perspective. They can be happy because they are not dwelling in negativity.

Contrast this with the person whose conversation focuses almost exclusively on those he or she does not like. Some are so critical and judgmental they will even speak badly of those they do like!

These people tend to be highly stressed, have a lot of anger, are unhappy with themselves and their lives. They also tend to create a lot of turmoil with others because they always have issues with them.

This negativity is ubiquitous in our society, particularly among females, unfortunately. Just look at girls starting in grade five or six and notice how much of their conversation centers on gossip. Where did they learn to do this? No doubt they overheard mom talking with a friend or on the telephone.

This kind of negative talk becomes dangerous now that children have access to the internet. Untold damage can be caused to others by placing mean comments or rumors on the web, where they can remain forever.

It is the ego that thinks it is so much better than others, and that gives it the right to judge another. If we are gossiping or judging others, we are no better ourselves. Children learn what they live. I have met some very young children who clearly have been taught compassion and caring for all others. Wisdom can be taught, and learned, at any age.

I wonder what happened to the Golden Rule: Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.

It is time we looked at the content of our conversations, and even our minds. How much space and time is spent tearing others down? This serves absolutely no purpose. It is like a flu virus that makes us sick, and we can spread it to others and make them sick too.

Just like using hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of disease, we may need to think in terms of “sanitizing” our thoughts and our words. The world would be much cleaner and healthier.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.