Monday, January 13, 2014

Why we gotta be so mean?

A very wise young songstress once sang "Why you gotta be so mean?"

But really...why DO we have to be so mean?

There are countless articles, blogs, research, and workshops dedicated to discussing bullying amongst kids and teens. And I am totally on board with that. I support any and all anti-bullying campaigns. Seeing a child heartbroken over being called names is disgusting, and should not be tolerated in schools, online, or anywhere.

But what about adults? What if workplaces wrote people up for bullying? Took away their lunch hour as a punishment for being a bully? Why is it ignored once we reach a certain age, and why aren't we doing anything about it?

I witness it constantly. Not just at work, by the way. At the bar, I have heard girls call other girls fat. At the gym, I once saw a couple giggling and pointing at other people. I see it via social media all the time. People are downright cruel. We are so quick to judge, criticize, roll our eyes, and gossip.

As adults, we should not be so worried about "being cool" or "popular". We should not be turning our back to others just because we don't think they are "cool" enough.

Come on. Guys and gals, we are better than this. We have all seen Mean Girls, right? We've heard this quote:

"Calling someone fat won't make you any skinner. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. Ruining someone's life won't make yours any better. The only thing that you can do in life is solve the problem that's in front of you."

I think we can learn a lot from this quote, if we really put it into practice, and think before we speak.

I am not totally innocent. I gossip. I roll my eyes. In fact, I will fully admit to you that I have said some really mean things, usually when I am caught up in a moment of anger. But I am certainly not proud of that. I hate that I do it, and I want to stop. Every time I catch myself in the web of nasty words and bitterness, I feel awful.

Can we also quit being so jealous of one another? When a friend has good news, be happy for them. Don't roll your eyes or muster up feelings of anger. You want your accomplishments to be celebrated, right? So bring out your pom poms and cheer on your pals. You don't have to throw them a party or buy them a card. Use your words. Say something like "Hey, I'm really proud of you.".

There is enough ugly in this world. Each of us have the ability to make it a little more beautiful, so reach inside of you, find the love, the spread it. Make sure you sprinkle some on yourself, too, because you deserve it.

The anger, jealousy, and bitterness that sneaks into our veins needs to be released. Perhaps if each of us makes a conscious effort to dispose of it, life will be a little happier. Can't we at least agree to try? I think we owe it to ourselves.

To close, I have written a short, simple mantra to try to keep myself in line:

Think before you speak.
Listen before you act.
Try to understand before you judge.
Be happy, before you let jealousy win.
Smile, embrace, accept, love.

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