What do you spend more time on? Discussing other people's lives, or finding ways to improve yourself? When you refocus your energy, you save time, experience growth, and reduce stress.
The point of this post is really to emphasise how much a person loses by choosing to criticise others when they could invest that time back into themselves and their own personal development.
I'm a firm believer in enjoying interactions with other people. Being around those who you love and and those who love you is so uplifting. No matter who you are, you need to experience friendly interactions with others in order to thrive. It's the way we were created.
Unfortunately, it's quite easy to turn those human interactions into a method of hurting, instead of healing. Conversations can stray from positive interchanges and appreciation to spotlighting the faults of others and even being harshly critical.
It may even go a step further, where a person chooses to make another a permanent subject of conversation - and no, they don't sing that person's praises or impart encouragement and life lessons that they've learned from that person.
What you will often see is a trend to bring the subject down. This can manifest itself in the form of telling lies about that person, discussing information that was shared in private or making fun of that person. Cliques may form, and sometimes it seems that the only purpose of such a group is to find targets and pick on them.
Have you ever been around such a group? People "uniting" together in a clique for the sole purpose of dragging others down through degrading words and actions. That's what friends are for?!
Now I don't know about you, but to me that seems to be a really terrible use of time. Friends should get together to laugh, have fun and create more positive memories, not be hurtful and spread rumours... right?
In fact, it's pretty shameful to see this happen, because when you strip everything back - all the "juicy" conversations, all the taking sides and giggly whispers, it is obvious that such friends actually have nothing in common. That warm, "bffs forever and ever" bond is a facade.
Friends who only talk about others in a demeaning way don't stay friends for long. There is no real trust, and so within a short time something will happen, and members of that group will start to turn on themselves.
And it makes sense: Hatred of or jealousy of another person is never a good basis on which to build a friendship. It's actually pretty sad.
It blows my imagination when I think of the progress and achievements that could be made when groups of people and individuals like me and you decide to refocus that energy instead of wasting it.
One way to do this is to step in a conversation that's obviously going down the wrong path and put it back on a better path. Find good qualities to point out about the person in question, or change the topic altogether. I often see people do this, and it always puts a huge smile on my face to see someone using their initiative in such a caring way.
At the very least, a simple but effective thing to do is not to participate in such hateful talk, even if that means being the odd one out. Those around you will secretly respect you more for it and wish they were more like you.
When groups of friends refocus their energy into uplifting each other, it truly helps their friendship blossom.
In a literal sense, just think of the minutes that can be saved by doing so. Time that would have been used to gossip and pry can be used on strengthening bonds within the group. That energy can be used in getting to know each other better and even sharing interesting/funny personal experiences that engender love and empathy.
So that's refocusing energy on a group level.
On an individual level, refocusing your energy can be even more powerful. When you make the switch from comparing yourself to others or starting rumours - to working on yourself, the results are quick to follow.
Sometimes people will leave others out or speak badly about them due to reasons of insecurity and/or jealousy. Instead of turning to a friend and speaking negatively of someone who you feel is doing better than you, invest that time back into yourself.
You might need to ask yourself questions like:
Why do I feel the way I do?
What is it about the other person I wish I had?
When you've identified that, find practical ways to improve and build in those areas you're lacking in. You'll get much farther this way.
Sometimes a little thought can produce incredible results. You might be able to form a new perspective and put yourself in that person's shoes. When you start imitating instead of criticising those you actually admire, you'll become more understanding of what they might be going through, and how your current actions towards them might be unfair.
You might find yourself refocusing your energy in two ways - by improving yourself but by also reaching out to that person and becoming their friend instead of their enemy. The motives for doing that should always be genuine though :)
A lot of people who become involved in spreading rumours would actually be quite embarrassed to make the same statements in front of the person they are accusing, because they know such accusations are false and unfair.
But what if you actually feel just justified about the accusations you're making?
You may be surprised to find out that nothing changes. Still, you will benefit from refocusing your energy.
This is because energy spent gossiping about others is always wasted, no matter the case. If you feel so strongly about it, then why not spend time directly settling issues with that person?
Above all, spend time ensuring that you are not doing whatever bad thing you feel the other person is doing. One of the most effective ways to deal with the bad conduct of others is to improve your own conduct, so you don't turn into what you hate.
On the other hand, if you don't actually hate what you say (to others) you hate, then you're back to step one 1 - learning from the person who evidently secretly admire.
Can you see how refocusing your energy brings clarity? I can't tell you which boat you fit in, whether your complaint is genuine or whether you hate because you love. Only you can do that. Whatever the case, if you find yourself spending way too much time discussing the affairs of other people and endlessly targeting them...
Please, refocus your energy.
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