The Journey: Judging people and talking behind their backs

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By SAMANTHA BRAZIE, Special to The Paper

It’s June, Paper readers – and lately, I’ve had something weighing heavily on my heart. It keeps coming up and I’m having a hard time understanding why except that maybe I need to be better at it. I have shared a lot about my Journey with all of you, and mostly about the lessons I’ve learned as the ‘adulting’ phase of my life has started. Surprise! This column will be no different. 

I don’t like to talk about this because I’m not proud of it … but I used to judge people, just by simply looking at them. I’m not talking about people watching and making up stories about someone’s life for entertainment – I gave very negative reactions about superficial things. Not because I was better than anyone else but for some reason I really don’t understand, I think it took my mind off my own problems and made me feel better about myself. And that makes literally no sense.

I used to talk behind people’s backs. The world I lived in was full of that and even though I knew it wasn’t nice to do so, it was acceptable to those around me. There was so much turnover in staff and therefore friendships in the restaurant industry at the time that gossip was truth. It wasn’t until I came home one day – exhausted and unloading on my husband – that he told me that every time I came home, I talked about my co-workers and gossiped about their personal lives to him and he didn’t like it. That simple sentence made me think for a long time and remember something I have always been aware of since childhood – words hurt people. They really, really hurt. It doesn’t matter if they heard what I said or not – I was still spreading negativity about them to my inner circles. 

From that time forward, I have been very aware of the words that come out of my mouth and the way I treat people. Not that I changed overnight, but understanding that there is something that needs to change in your life is often the first step in overcoming it. I intentionally do my best to treat everyone the same – whether you are a CEO or you work in the service industry… my pest control person or my banker. And you know what? My life is richer in so many ways because of that one simple thing. 

It’s your Journey so you have to do what makes you feel good about your life, but it can’t make you feel warm and fuzzy about choices that hurt someone else. Everyone deserves to be treated as a person – not an object to be talked about or gawked at for whatever reason. Whether the average person is attractive/unattractive, overweight/underweight, rich/poor, or can do something for you or not should have no effect on the way they are interacted with.  

If you know you want to be more empathetic, empathy can be learned – I am living proof of that. You can start by practicing how you behave in your relationships with others and when you’re talking with someone, try to imagine what their life is like for him or her. Not to give someone a handout, but just to see that they are real people with a Journey just like you … that ended up where they are in the moment in time that you happened to cross paths with them. 

“Empathy, humanity and support for each other is more important than revenue, than growth.” – Eric Yuan

Questions? Comments?  Email me at [email protected].

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