A lot of workplaces, schools and universities will divide into loosely-formed groups based on lifestyle and attitude, and then those groups will gossip about each other. These ego-focused encounters tend to generate unhealthy places, because too much life energy is being wasted in friction between groups, when it could be expended on enjoying the day and creatively solving challenges. But this is easily solved.
People who are spiritually immature spend more of their time in an ego-state, and that can be identified by its judgmental nature. If a lot of your brain-space is taken up having conversations with yourself (or other people who agree with you), about what you feel other employees or schoolmates are doing wrong, then you are in a state of wanting. Healthy places are places of appreciation.
If you’re behaving from ego you want other people to do what you would, or you want them to do them things the way you would. Of course that’s silly, because they don’t have your style, your skills or your history, so doing it the way you would is literally impossible.
The healthy person spends more of their time in a state of appreciation. To appreciate is to be grateful about what a person brings to a situation. Gratitude and appreciation are nice feelings to be experienced and they are entirely internal. Other people cannot make you grateful or appreciative but you always can. It’s simply a matter of what you’re looking for. If you want to find disappointment it will be there 100% of the time. But so will satisfaction and gratitude, so the point isn’t what’s available, the point is what choice are you making about what’s available?
Life will never give you exactly what you want. But it will give you a lot of you’re open to it. By being appreciative, you cause others around you to feel better about themselves. Just like an attack or a personal jab will take energy away from someone, so too will a compliment elevate their performance and their attitude.
People are always going to do what they feel is appropriate from their own perspective. All day long you do things that are different from what other people would choose. That does not make you or them wrong. Those are just your choices.
Do you find it elevates you if people second-guess you and undermine your choices? So why would your judgments be helpful to other people or situations? Especially when they’re presented as gossip, behind the other person’s back.
As children we mimicked whatever was nearby. So since few people actually live an appreciative life, few of us had that behaviour modelled to us. But it’s still a choice. Had it been modelled to us, that is what we would have become instead of judgmental. So now that we’re conscious, aware adults, we can choose which attitude to utilize throughout our day. And once you’re appreciative long enough it just becomes natural. And that is the surest path to a wise and worthwhile life.
Subtracting from others is like subtracting from yourself. Appreciate those around you, because adding to others adds to you.
Have a wonderful day of appreciation–conscious, intentional appreciation.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.