Years ago I had a misadventure with a crown on my tooth. You never want to hear a dentist say, “Oops,” when he has the knuckles of both hands inside your mouth. I originally attributed my respect for the dentist who finally fixed my tooth to his professional courtesy. (He’s still my dentist.) I often wondered if competent or secure people just aren’t threatened and don’t need to point out lack in others. I wouldn’t know.
Heather Thomson Day writes in It’s Not Your Turn, about a communication concept where maligning another person transfers those traits back on to you in your listener’s mind. She says the stress hormones created during negative talk increases anxiety and irritability (in both you and the one you are speaking with) and that, “Our negative language creates distrust in our listeners.” She also says these “spontaneous transfer traits” are not logical. This was my favorite section of her book and it made me see why sometimes I distrust consistently disparaging people.
The thing is though, I can be really negative about myself.
I wish I could remember where I read/heard it, but I found a quote that said something like, “If you had a friend who broke as many promises as you do to yourself, would you stay friends with them?” (It might be from Enough Already by Barb Roose?) There are so many ways we treat ourselves which we wouldn’t tolerate from others.
So even if you guard yourself from negative speech or gossip about others, you might speak death over your own life. (Read about gossip as a pseudo-intimacy here.) I have been trying to break this. One time when I heard myself whisper, “Who do you think you are?” I pulled out You Say by Lauren Daigle just so I could finish putting on my makeup. If you relate to that, I really recommend the above mentioned by Barb Roose.
Can we commit to not saying to ourselves what we would consider a sin to say to others? How do you break free from that?