I was riding home from the airport and looked out the window. Recent rains had washed the dusty air. The sky was a brilliant blue. I commented on how pretty it was. My daughter, Alicia, and two granddaughters, Rosannah, age 4 and three-year-old Briannah looked out at the brilliant skyscape. Briannah’s attention was drawn to the cumulonimbus clouds overhead.
“Look at the puppy clouds!” Briannah exclaimed.
Rosannah assumed her sister meant “puffy” clouds so she had a great laugh. Briannah was unaffected by the guffaw. In her world they probably did look like one of her favorite things – puppies.
Briannah is quite a character and says things that make us laugh. Recently, when asked if she had to go to the bathroom she replied.
“I don’t have any poops in my butt. I left them at school.”
As a writer, I love words. They can inspire and elevate your mood, expand your mind, or make you laugh. However, they can also be destructive. The following excerpt is from entrepreneur, Ed Daniel Jr. from our book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within.
Ed’s path to success was the same as the principles in many religions – right thought, right speech and right action. One of the areas that proved troublesome in many of Ed’s businesses – particularly the beauty salons – was right speech.
“I absolutely will not tolerate gossip,” said Ed. “I remember once when I was a young man, I started complaining about one of my bosses. My dad stopped me cold and said, “don’t take a man’s money and then talk bad about him.” The same is true about anyone in the workplace. You have to respect one another. Gossip is like a poison. If I hear that an employee is gossiping about another, I give them a strict warning, maybe two. If they do it a third time, they’re out the door.”
Janet, who works as an educator for the same chain of beauty schools that Ed owns, agrees.
“Gossip is not only hurtful, it’s destructive,” said Janet. “Criticism and gossip stops any work environment from being a positive, joyful, fun, fulfilling experience. We can be having a wonderful time at our jobs, then one negative or critical person walks in and everyone seems to follow the negative, feeding frenzy. It’s like inviting ants to a picnic. Unfortunately, what follows is the whole environment turns negative. We find ourselves agreeing with, and even adding to the gossip and criticism that is being tossed about. From there it spreads and fuels the fire of dissention – often beyond repair.”
Janet offered this advice for turning the tide of gossip in the workplace.
“We each have an obligation to stop this vicious cycle of negativity and destruction. When we catch ourselves being critical or wanting to gossip, we need to stop and refuse to allow ourselves to fall into that trap. We may have to work on this for the rest of our lives as the programming is strong and society as a whole tends to be negative. We have to choose not to participate or associate with the people that seem to thrive on the negative side of life. We have to learn to say, “I'm sorry you feel the way you do, but I really can't let your negative attitude interfere with my joy and happiness.” It may be hard at first, but when you hear gossip, you need to have the courage to stop it, or at the very least, learn to walk away.”
If there is a general problem in the workplace, then a person should have the compassion and courage to address it with the individual in question. This can’t happen if you are spreading rumors behind someone’s back.
Here are a few tips on how to reduce negative speech from your life.
•Don’t gossip about others. Before you speak, imagine the person you are talking about is standing right next to you listening to what you have to say. If you wouldn’t have the courage to say it to their face, or would be embarrassed for them to hear your opinion, don’t say it.
•Be mindful of your intention when you speak or act. Before you say something, imagine someone said the same thing about you. Would you find this information helpful or hurtful? If you wouldn’t feel good hearing it, they probably won’t either. However, if there is something important that needs to be said, try communicating in a compassionate, not authoritarian, manner.
EMBRACE THE MAGIC WITHIN
•Be aware of your thoughts and actions. Think of every good thing you do as dropping a golden coin in a bank, and for every negative cause, you need to take a coin out. At the end of the day, think of how you’re doing and what you need to do to increase your positive behavior.
•When you communicate with others, imagine that your words are going directly from your heart to their heart. The same holds true when you are listening. When you do this, you will find your interactions will be more compassionate. If you find you cannot communicate with someone from that “heartfelt” place, try again when you are in better spirits.
Remember, we can use our words to hurt or to heal. Rabindranath Tagore once said, “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
We don’t need to be poets or philosophers to use our words to inspire others. Thanks to Briannah I don’t think I’ll ever look at the sky and not think of “puppy clouds” and how the very thought of it makes my imaginary tail wag with joy.