Saturday, November 21, 2009

Accentuate the Positive!

There is something that I've been noticing lately. We all seem to almost revel in pointing out the negative things about other people. At work, we talk about other coworkers' weaknesses; mistakes, absenteeism, attitude, etc. With family and friends, don't we all engage in gossip? You know, how person A slighted person B; this person is jealous of that one; lack of housekeeping skills; those horrible cookies she made last week; oh, and don't get me started on HER haircut! As parents, we have the horrible habit of comparing others' parenting skills to our own (unfavourably, of course!).

Why do we do this? Do we really feel better when we put other people down? I believe the idea is to build ourselves up by pointing out the weaknesses of others. Why then, do I always feel a bit crappy after engaging in this behaviour? When you build yourself up by tearing others down, that tower that you put yourself on is really pretty darned rickety. After all, look at the foundation that you've built it on. Maybe that crappiness that I feel is seasickness from the swaying of my tower. Mmmmm....

This behaviour is so common that we have a hard time taking a compliment. When someone says something nice about me or my kids, I blush and get totally speechless; fumbling through (hopefully) graceful thank yous. Why are we so shy about complimenting each other? How hard is it to tell someone that they are doing a good job, have great style, are a good mom...

This evening I said something nice (and true!) to one of my Twitter friends who was feeling the blahs. She responded with a "thanks" and let me know that she hadn't been fishing for compliments. Since when is turning to friends when you are feeling down fishing for a compliment? When you are down, your friends (even just Twitter friends) are supposed to be there for you pointing out the things that lift you up. That's what we are there for.

Maybe if we make the effort to find something positive to say to someone, friend or stranger, each day our own personal towers will have stronger foundations. Now, that would be something to feel good about.



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