Belittle and Be Little
by Dona Bonnett
On the highway, I passed a little Church marquee recently that read “Belittle and Be Little”.
This message really spoke to me in a big way. What a profound message in those four little words. They spoke of kindness, compassion and positive consideration for another person.
Living in the South, we have experienced that kindness and consideration to others, but even here, as well as our overall society all across the United States and our entire world, attitudes and humor has definitely changed.
Have you ever met someone who was genuinely kind? Chances are, you felt drawn to that person. They seemed different than most people and you wanted to be around them. Genuine kindness is an excellent attribute for anyone to possess.
Our society has embraced harshness and sarcasm. We have evolved to a humor that to be funny, we feel that we must be funny at someone else’s expense.
In researching this topic, I found that the definition of sarcasm, according to Google, means “the use of irony to mock or convey contempt”. Synonyms are mockery, ridicule, scorn, sneering, scoffing, looking down one’s nose, curl one’s lip at, jeer at, laugh at, etc.
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary’s definition of scorn is “a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of respect or approval; harsh criticism that shows a lack of and Sarcasm is “the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say, especially, in order to insult someone, to show irritation, or to be funny.”
Is this really how we want to show attention to another person?
In our present society, when we want to show someone attention or notice them, we use sarcasm to be funny to notice them or give attention so instead of giving positive attention, we are actually giving negative attention – actually, the opposite of what we really intend. We have been conditioned that this is the proper way to show attention to someone which is actually the opposite of what we should be doing.
What happened to good ole positive encouragement, uplifting one another and making someone feel good about themselves? Don’t you think people would be drawn to anyone who makes the effort to encourage someone rather than tear them down?
In any relationship, we make emotional deposits and withdrawals. When we have more negative withdrawals than positive deposits, we become emotionally overdrawn and our relationships suffer.
This holds true in all of our personal and professional relationships (i.e. friend, parent, child, spouse, coworker, and boss). No matter what the relationship, the principle is the same.
Even in our Churches, pulpits, professional organizations, it is an epidemic and very hard to escape to find an environment of love, acceptance and encouragement.
Beyond sarcasm, the tone of our voice has changed. We have developed a sharpness in our voices rather than a tone of love and kindness. Sometimes, I listen to my own voice when speaking and I really don’t like what I hear – there is a sharpness that I am not proud of.
I want to be one of those people who exhibit kindness to everyone I meet. I want to make my world a better place. I want to be encouraging and uplifting to others and make them feel better about themselves. I want God’s love to shine through me.
Our world would be a better place if we could be a kinder, more forgiving world. Our personal world would be much better if we actively practiced regular acts of kindness and encouragement. Kindness is contagious and we could change our entire world, if we treated others with true kindness and encouraged others to do the same.
When I hear someone being funny at some else’s expense, I cringe inside. When I am in a group of professionals, friends, family or Church and I hear someone being torn down to be funny, I feel for that person and it makes me not want to participate in whatever I am involved in.
In professional organizations, civic groups, Churches as well as in our business and workplace, our labor would be much more profitable if we would make emotional deposits rather than withdrawals.
Would you like to be a people magnet? Want to grow your business? Want to grow your professional organization or your Church? “Kill People with Kindness!” Remember the “Golden Rule”, “Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You!”
“Belittle and Be Little.” We can stay little by belittling others or we can be big by empowering others. We possess the power to change. Let’s don’t settle for little – let’s work on being big!
Here are a few ways to work toward empowering others:
1) Affirm one another and encourage one another (make a conscious effort to say something positive to everyone you come in contact with and make emotional deposits and not withdrawals).
2) Only speak positively about anyone (don’t speak negatively and remember the old saying, “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all!”
3) Only give someone positive attention and never use sarcasm (remember sarcasm is actually negative attention, belittling to others and you are making negative withdrawals rather than positive deposits in your emotional bank).
Following these three simple steps will greatly improve your relationships and your success in life – best wishes!
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Dona Bonnett is a business and marketing coach and consultant specializing in business start-ups and companies that would like to grow. For more information, please contact Dona at 256.345.3993.