The power of words

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around something for a while. Struggling to put it into eloquent words. Heck, I don’t know that it was necessarily eloquent but maybe just words in general.

I’ve had a few friends get pretty hurt lately. If I wasn’t so stubborn, I probably would have experienced my share of pain, too. It really has me thinking about people in general. None of these situations have been the same, but I’m still surprised at the way people treat others. It’s sad to see how immature some people can be or how they can have such a disregard for another person. I think I do a pretty good job of treating others how I want to be treated. I’m even nice to people who I kind of don’t want to be nice to. Maybe it’s the way I was raised or maybe most people just don’t have that characteristic. It seems like a basic rule to being an adult…

I’ve been surprised that people don’t seem to care about others’ feelings, don’t know what their words or actions can mean to someone, and in some instances how their words could ruin someones’ life. I want to call them immature and say they’ll grow out of it, but will they? That’s the part that scares me. Are some people destined to be awful people for their entire life? And these aren’t awful people – or appear to be people who shouldn’t act this way. People that on the surface seem normal, but behind backs they turn into malicious people.

I’m wondering where along the way of being a grown up, some of these people forgot the basic rules of friendship. The things I’m teaching my young children. Be nice. Share. Don’t be mean to your friends. Maybe that means calling a friend and having a difficult conversation. Explaining why you’ve made certain life choices that directly impact them. Or defending a friend when you hear a rumor. Or checking in on them when you know they are going through a difficult time.

Being a friend comes easy to me. Sure, I don’t treat everyone with the same level of compassion, but they don’t treat me with the same either. However, one thing is definite –  I’ll be there for anyone who needs me. Always. 

I wonder what people think before they talk poorly about others. Anything? I try to make a habit of not talking poorly about people. I like the “rule” of not saying anything you wouldn’t say to the person being talked about. Seems like a pretty good way of life. I especially pull back from talking poorly about people in group settings. It’s distasteful. I don’t want to be the center of those conversations, so why should I do it to someone else? What are my opinions anyway? They aren’t facts, they are my opinions. It’s a view or judgement not necessarily based on fact. And probably more based on rumors.

When people spread gossip, do they want credit for spreading it? Want to be known as the first person who knew? Is it a competition? Do they feel remorseful? From my experience, most of the things I hear aren’t true. It’s sad that so many people spend so much energy spreading rumors. What happened to sharing the good news? What happened to celebrating when good things happen to people?

{Rumor}: circulating a story or report of something uncertain or untrue.
{Gossip}: casual conversation or reports of other people, typically containing details that are not confirmed as being true.

I thought my adult life would continue to distance me from drama, but I’ve found that drama and gossip don’t have an age. I wish they did. I would have happily left that behind in high school. How come people can manage to pay their bills and do very well at professional jobs, but can’t stop themselves from saying untrue things about “friends”? Or, can’t bring themselves to be adult enough to have an honest conversation with a friend?

I don’t let a lot of things get to me. It’s either the stubbornness in me or hearing my dad tell me at a young age that people talk about you because they are jealous of you. It’s always stuck with me and when I self-reflect I think it’s true most of the time. If I find myself annoyed at someone or something, it usually comes from a position of jealousy. I remind myself that the grass isn’t always greener and I have the power to change my situation. I don’t talk poorly of the person, instead I adjust my life so I can be happy with where I am.

I hate when a friend is hurt by actions or words. Other than being there to help them process and get through it, I hope I’m a positive influence. I hope I do it with grace and lead by example. I hope that little-by-little “these people” begin to understand that there’s a much happier life out there if they aren’t concerned with everyone else all the time. It’s sad to think some people spend valuable time thinking and talking about others when they could be leading a better life. Be a positive influence on someone, even if it’s not obvious. Set a good example and you’ll feel much better about your own life!

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The power of words

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