It’s pretty common for humans to trash talk other humans. It isn’t right. It isn’t good or healthy. We all know it’s wrong. But we do it.
I love to study people and figure out what they’re thinking and feeling. Once I figure that out, I enjoy searching for why they feel that way in certain moments. How a person feels often dictates what they’ll say or do in a situation.
It’s pretty common in my generation, and specifically in my friend group, to be introspective and discover what’s going on inside of us that is causing us to make decisions. I like to study myself to understand why I’m making decisions deeper than the “I just wanted to.” My self discovery has led to a variety of revelations that have allowed me to grow into a better human. I’ll dive into this one:
Years ago, I was in a terrible on and off relationship with someone that made me feel horrible. Horrible. She was an expert at pushing the buttons that make me livid. I was frustrated all the time with her. To be fair, I’m positive she felt the same about me. I was pushing her buttons to get a reaction back. To make her feel how she made me feel. I thought, “If she could just feel how I’m feeling, she’ll realize it’s wrong, and she’ll stop doing this to me!”
It was a tennis match in which the more points we scored, the more we lost.
I was too immature then to realize what was happening. What I was doing wrong. Why we were doing wrong to each other. I was still in the “she did this”or “I’m the victim” mentality, which was unfair to her.
It was much later that I learned that I was making her feel bad, because I felt bad. Not all of my bad feelings were her fault. None of them were her responsibility either.
- I insecure about her past relationships. So I felt bad.
- I was unhappy with my job. So I felt bad.
- I expected life to look differently. So I felt bad.
- I didn’t have the friends I thought I’d had. So I felt bad.
I’m positive that there were plenty more than I’m not remembering. Overall, I just felt bad. She came into my life where I subconsciously wanted to spread my unhappiness around like candy from a piñata! When she would do even the most minor things to inconvenience me, I would lash out. Of course, in her own ways, she was equally unhappy with her life and she would lash out when I inconvenienced her. The keyword being: inconvenienced.
It’s not like we were reacting to the end of the world. We were lashing out to someone requiring us to do something we just didn’t want to do.
Together, we were miserable!
We chose to make each other miserable.
We knew how to make the other happy or sad and we consistently chose misery.
If misery loves company, it loved us!
Though we haven’t spoken in years and I’m certain she’s forgotten about me, for my part, I apologize. I was too immature to realize my wrong then.
If I am completely honest, there are still things I say or do because of my insecurities, misery, and dissatisfaction. Why? Well, because I’m human and I am still learning how to control myself. I will say, the process of learning my faults has helped me be more graceful to others when they trash me for reasons I don’t know.
I have plenty of critics. In my opinion, I’m not famous enough to have critics! But as long as there are humans on earth, there will be these moments where even the best person will throw a verbal stick and stone.
Years ago, I was trying to enhance my photography skills. I like to say that when it comes to photography, I’m pretty lucky, but I’m working on becoming good. Because I want to become better, I bought a better camera. Because I’m not made of money, it was an older version of a top of the line series. I was so excited. I showed my friends and talked about what I could do with this camera. One particular friend used the opportunity to belittle my new purchase as simply a lust for technology.
I’ve always enjoyed tech, that’s true, I won’t deny that. But it definitely shocked me when someone who knew my story, my intentions, and how this camera was not cutting edge would slander me. Oddly enough, it stuck! This individual continued to speak a phrase they created and encouraged others to do the same. Though I’m not one to let words get to me, when my truer friends used these phrases, I was surprised and hurt.
I love to travel. I love to see new places, meet new people, and soak in different experiences! Most people say they like to travel, but I’m one of those who chases after it, like a dog chasing a car. I know it’s not for everyone, plenty of people enjoy their lives at home. It takes a lot of effort to create a community in one spot. It takes years to establish yourself in an area and become a member of a specific society. That’s great for them!
Despite my understanding of people not wanting to travel, it doesn’t help them understand that I need it. So they mock me. I’ve heard so many discouraging things about traveling. I’m so pro-travel and daily encourage other to do the same, I was surprised that there is a community that is anti-traveling!
“You’re just blowing with the wind, having no direction.”
“No woman will marry you if you live a lifestyle like that!”
“If you don’t settle and save now, you’ll have nothing in the future.”
For a while, it seemed every encouragement I received to start my traveling adventure, there were plenty advocating the opposite.
Though I don’t know with certainty, I imagine that these people were hurt by something in their lives. They were hurting enough that they showed that pain in the form of lashing out. Whether they realize it or not, they were taking out their pain in a simple unhealthy way. Maybe they were right. Maybe it needed to be said. Maybe it makes them feel better when they continue to say it.
There is always a better way to speak your mind and release your emotions. If something good is done for the wrong reasons, is it still good?
In the first scenario, I imagine the person felt insecure about their photography passion. After this person saw me move on my way to starting a photography business and go out for different shoots, they opened up and showed me their camera and photos. They were great! Through their attempt to be humble, I questioned if their previous comments were because they wanted to achieve my goal, but never did. Perhaps their lack of success led to them coining a phrase to make fun of someone who did what they didn’t.
Maybe each time they say it, they’re covering up their individual failure to chase a dream they had. And in that one moment, when the words come out, they feel good about themselves.
In the second scenario, I think the people didn’t know how to say, “I’ll miss you.”
Something as simple as that. I believe that instead of mustering the courage to say how they felt, these people reasoned within themselves that it was better to discourage me from leaving.
I don’t want to give these people escapes for their behavior. They need to reconcile their issues in any way they can.
However, I can definitely use this to examine myself better.
We are living in an era where slander is rampant! You can’t spend more than five minutes on any social media platform without reading about someone trash talking someone else. It’s as if it’s the trendy to do. If someone inconveniences your lifestyle, is slightly different from you, or believes in something else the response is to slander them!
If we take just a moment to monitor what we are feeling, what we are truly thinking, we can understand that what we are saying/doing/posting to someone isn’t because of anything the other person has done. Rather, it is a reflection of ourselves.
A reflection that we are uncomfortable seeing.
Speaking slander against any person isn’t helping your cause, isn’t helping them change, isn’t helping a person understand your point of view. There’s a better way to say it. It starts with looking within.