How We Talk About Others

Dear Friends,

On this “Thankful Thursday” I am grateful for a simple reminder to watch my words, especially when I talk about other people.… and now I am going to get on my soap box and talk about other people. (LOL)

Have you ever spent an extended amount of time with another person or group of people who find humor in being critical of others?  Now they might not recognize themselves as being judgmental or condescending, because it is such a knee-jerk subconscious reaction to others whom they have an implicit bias against. Nevertheless, the criticism is undeniable.

Do you ever find yourself in the company of people who observe others and use them as examples of what to do or not to do? Maybe they glory in ways they are similar or where they are better in some way, and point out differences or shortcomings in others. We all do this, or at least have done this, at some point in our life.  It is a natural tendency we must first become aware of, and then choose out of.  The funny irony here is that I am doing the exact same thing by writing this email that they are doing…yikes!! But- I do have a point, I promise. 😉

When we make fun of, point out the differences about, or find humor at another’s expense we land in pride, weaken our connections and alienate people.  For example, if a family is similar in their heterosexuality, they may feel safe and entitled even to poke fun at differences they see in homosexual individuals.  But what this tells the members of the family is, “you better not be gay, or associate with anyone who is, or else you will be mocked, judged, found lacking and ultimately you won’t belong.”   Another example- if everyone in the family is thin, it may seem ok to make fun of fat people.  But what happens when someone in the family gains weight, or a family member’s child is larger than what they would deem acceptable? The message is, that person doesn’t fit in and will be found severely lacking.  They will be made fun of and harshly judged. The relationships in the group can begin to feel tenuous- dependent on meeting certain criteria the group deems important.  If solid self-awareness and strong self love has not yet developed, this judgmental, critical, fault-finding atmosphere breeds insecurity, self-doubt, and perfectionism.  

I am so thankful I was able to see this play out in a few different scenarios over the past few weeks so that as I parent my children and associate with incredible people, I can be more sensitive to my words.  I am grateful for the impetus to weed out any implicit biases I might have or places where I might be consciously or subconsciously passing critical judgment onto others.  I realize I have so much room for growth here, but oh how I desire to be like Christ, who loves ALL with unconditional love.  My heartfelt desire is to be filled with Christlike charity, so that as I interact with others, I might do it from a place of grace, mercy and relentless kindness.  I’m grateful for the reminder to watch what I choose to talk about and how I communicate, especially about other people.  In my conversations I strive to connect, engender belonging and a sense of comfortable safety.  To do this, I desire to show up in the 3 C’s of compassion, curiosity and calm. 

Oh how important it is, if we want to build strong bonds in our families, teams and friendships, to avoid the 4C’s (Criticism, Complaining, Comparing and Competing), not only as we interact with each other, but also as we observe and make comments about others.

I challenge you to go within and examine yourself.  Do you have any implicit bias about race, sexual orientation, body size, disability, income level, status, religion, tattoos/piercings, hair styles, clothing…. Judge what is right for yourself, yes.  Teach those you have stewardship over to judge for themselves, absolutely. AND- let everyone have their own journey, where our only job is to support our brothers and sisters in loving kindness.  I realize this is so tricky!!  However, I’m grateful for the reminder to check myself! 

I’d love your thoughts about this!!

Gratefully yours,

Candice

PS- Stay tuned for a Powerful Parenting Course I will be starting.  It will run for 6 weeks during May and June.  I can’t wait to share all the details with you over the next few weeks.  If you haven’t yet, click here to get my free PDF “10 things to NEVER do  if you want to raise a Confident Daughter  with a Healthy Body Image”. 🙂