I ran into someone I know the other day and we strolled together for a while. As we walked, she mentioned someone we knew and began to criticize her for an irresponsible action. Not a super serious infraction and not even a personal one, but something that could very well have been simply thoughtless. Perhaps that person didn’t understand the implications of her actions. So I suggested that.
“How could she not get it,” my friend said, coldly. I brought up several possible reasons. My friend rejected them all and continue to bash the other person.
I came away from the conversation feeling..soiled. The judgments I heard were so distasteful and so void of any flexibility or willingness to give the benefit of the doubt that it left a bad taste in my mouth: the lingering bad taste of judgment.
A few weeks before that I ran into someone else I’ve known pretty well but don’t see much of any more. I had been out walking the dog and had only rushed to the store to pick up an item I’d forgotten. I didn’t change out of my ratty long-sleeved t-shirt that had a stain on it. I saw my former friend give me the once over, paste a phoney smile on her face and then say, “you look great!”
Fact was I didn’t look great. Fact is her comment was gratuitous and fake.
Fact is we really didn’t have much to say to one another after that.
I don’t have much to say to the first person, either.
I mean, why would I?
So here’s what I’m asking this morning: Do you lift others up? Or –even unthinkingly–drag them down?
Every day we have an opportunity to build up the people around us, if we choose to. And that’s the key thing, I believe: choice.
Choice to make the world around us a little brighter and more positive. To be more compassionate.
As I age, bringing a little light and laughter to the world around me and making people around me feel good –seeding the environment around me, you might call it–have become far more important. Because now I can see that we do create our world.