Sneering is Lazy


One of my connections posted a witty article to LinkedIn. They'd clearly spent a lot of time crafting it, and it got a lot of likes and comments. The problem was, though, that it came from a negative place, and it was lazy.

The article was a humorous dig at the practices around personal development, wellbeing, and mindfulness. It ridiculed those who find benefit from daily journaling, from meditation, and from practices that move people forward, that enable them to grow and be better. It poked fun at those who factor sleep, gratitude and healthy activities into their daily practices.

It's easy to sneer like that, but for anyone who has used - or uses - these techniques, practices and attitudes to living as a way of coping with insecurities or to help them perform as well as they can in whatever endeavour they are undertaking, these comments can be undermining. They can feed insecurities, they can make people feel unsure of themselves, and they can fuel negative thought processes.

In short, this kind of article (if you can call it that) is a form of bullying. It comes from a time where sleep was for wimps, where there was no room for second place, where everything was a competition and if you weren't winning, you were a loser. But more than this, it comes from a place of fear.

There was a time when the only way to succeed was to fight to the death, to be aggressive, to elbow your way forward and anyone who got knocked down or didn't make it or didn't understand was collateral damage. A time where any kind of emotion that wasn't anger or aggression was weakness, where compassion and empathy were for bleeding heart liberals and personal development took place at the rugby club or at the pub after six pints with your co-workers.

But this kind of negativity erodes wellbeing. It's the sanctuary of the burn-out, the stomach ulcer and the heart attack at forty. It erodes until all that's left are burnt bridges and a rusting company car, multiple divorces and bitterness.

So here's a hypothetical question: When you see someone working to improve themselves and the lives of others, isn't it better to try and support them, see through their eyes, learn from them, and share in their journey and their victories? Or is it better to knock them down and hope that you can climb up with sheer brute force over the broken bodies of those whose good intentions you've laughed at? Is it better to be stronger together, or angry and alone?

Empathy has a gentle power that enables you to see deeply and compassionately through the eyes of others. It builds, creates, and understands. Ridicule is the lazy act of the frightened bully. Ridicule erodes.

It's your choice.