Skip to main content

Things You'll Never Hear Anyone Say

As I was sitting at a busy lunch spot in Manhattan yesterday, I overheard many different snippets of conversations. Themes included: "I can't believe that so-and-so did this..." "It really sucks to work there because..." "If only [insert almost anything here] were different, then [insert future happy outcome here]."

I listened with curiosity, and considered the contrapositive of these statements. Here is an abbreviated list, which I am titling "Things that you'll never hear spoken aloud because people will never say them." Usually people won't even think these statements - at most, these could be a dark glimmer on the horizon of understanding.

My boss won't trust me, which is why I don't know the answer to that question. 
In my relationship, problems are due mostly to me. 
I'm not just wrong, I probably am ignorant of the history / context of the underlying issue. 
I could greatly improve my life if I got up off my ass and did something. 
I'm fat but I could probably do something about it, if I really wanted to change my diet or exercise. 
I should really stop complaining. No one wants to constantly be subjected to negative statements.

How did you feel when reading these? Likely you found when reading this list, as I did when writing it, that these statements are distressing when viewed from the "I perspective". Written in the first-person, we automatically put ourselves into the position of reading them as the "I."

And yet how often do we attribute these descriptions to others?

She's fat, but has so much potential, if only she could lose weight. Then she'd really be able to find someone. [or other variations on personal appearance] 
He's stupid, I can't believe the sh** he says. Anyone who believes this is equally idiotic. [anyone say this recently about any particular figures in public office?] 
If only they weren't so lazy - I really have to pick up their slack. They just don't know what they're doing. 

Even more extreme versions exist, of course, possibly with more swearing involved.

How did you feel when reading this list of statements attributed to others/ third parties? Did individuals come to mind who fit these descriptions? Did you find yourself nodding along?

Quite easy to think of folks to criticize, and quite painful to consider these same criticisms when applied to oneself.

Now if you are reading this, you might know me personally. And thoughts could come to mind such as "but of course everyone judges others -- you do, too." Of course I do. To claim not to be a hypocrite is the ultimate hypocrisy.

But gaining awareness of these mental habits and judgments being pinned on others is the first step to increasing empathy and kindness. Recognize the cycle, acknowledge it, and try to break free. See what positive rays start shining through your thoughts and emotions.

I hope you have had a kind start to your 2019. 

Comments

Thats an amazing one...Very true...one can never see their back...Being positive is very important...Look for many more blogs from you dear Emily...Best wishes :)

Popular posts from this blog

All I want for my birthday is...

Have you ever had a bad day turn around because of incredibly small, yet memorable, act of kindness? Maybe a stranger smiled at you in the grocery line, or opened a door for you, or let you go first after a stop sign. Or perhaps you heard from an old friend, calling you just because. A hug, a genuine question about your day, or simply the gift of listening -- all of these acts have power.

Rabbi Hillel* famously said,
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?" There's so much that can be read into a quote like that, but let me offer this interpretation through the lens of kindness. Performing kindness (e.g. self-care) for yourself is a genuine form of kindness for the world. And likewise, acting in kindness for others is also a boon to one's own soul.

In that spirit, I offer this request. All I want for my birthday (Oct 23) this year is to put a dose of kindness into the world. And I need your help. If we ea…

The 95% Rule

Yesterday morning, I was walking back to the house from the gym - my usual route, across Canal Street. Per usual at 7.45am, the road was filled with rushing cars, commuting to points downtown. Per usual, I entered the crosswalk. And for nearly the hundredth time, I almost got sideswiped by a car that was legally mandated to stop for pedestrians.

All of that was, sadly, well within the norm of my experience. But what pushed me over the edge was the fact that the car that nearly killed me took the time to roll down his window and scream obscenities at me. The car was a Lexus, driven by a man in his 50s or 60s.

If only he had paused before the crosswalk,  rather than after. Evidently he had the time to do one but not the other?

What's a compassionate human being to do?

Pause. Breathe. Forget about it. Send a dose of kindness his way, enough to disinfect him from whatever scum was infiltrating his mind.

Did I do that? Of course not at the time. But later - maybe.

When's the last …

Flights Suck, Airlines Suck Harder, But Hey: We're Going on Vacation!

I like to write posts on kindness when I have recently battled rage. Especially when I have experienced that unique rage that gets directed at incompetence. You know the type. Themes include:
"Why can't I get anyone in customer service to explain what's happening, after being on hold for 20 minutes? Don't they know how to do their jobs? They're getting paid to talk to me, not the other way around!"
Yes, undergoing a rage attack really brings into perspective: the gap between current state and desired future state in cultivating kindness.

You see, as I was writing this post initially, yours truly was sitting on the runway at Newark, waiting for my flight to get underway. It was a flight from Newark to Houston. Except that I began the day at Boston Logan, and aimed to end up in Memphis. The interim stop in Houston was unplanned. Ah, United Airlines! They had a few tricks up their sleeves for me.

I found myself getting very caught up in the minutiae of various …