Do We Build Ourselves Up By Putting Others Down?

In our current climate of divisiveness there is a lot mean-spirited talk, there are a lot of lies being told. It’s hard not to get caught up in being outraged, insulting, and judgmental. Some quotes that keep me conscious of how I participate in conversations are below. We are all doing our best, and we all fall short, but we can at least try to be mindful of our words, and the energy that carries our words.

By “mean-spirited talk” I mean speaking or writing with any of these qualities: unkind, spiteful, unfair, nasty, hateful, harsh, rude, insulting, degrading, disrespectful, uncivil. I also include grossly distorting or editing someone else’s words to give a false impression.

Under stress people start to feel powerless; then the impulse to put others down in an attempt to feel better about their own situation shows up. I fall into this trap on occasion; I think we all do. We are currently in an overwhelm of stress that comes with a global pandemic the likes of which we’ve never seen before and can’t predict. Now more than ever, it’s time to try and do better in our discourse.

Here are the quotes I hope will act as a friendly reminder of the boomerang effect of mean speech:


“You speak badly of others thinking it will make you feel superior. This only sows seeds of meanness in your heart, causing others not to trust you and causing you to suffer.”

Pema Chodron, Always Maintain a Joyful Mind


“When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.”

Richard Carlson, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff


“Hatred never ceases by hatred,

But by love alone is healed.

This is an ancient and eternal law.”

Maha Gosananda spoken from the Dhammapada


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.


“It is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

Mahatma Gandhi


“The words you choose are programmed to release power and life force into whatever they express. As you speak, so you experience…”

Sonia Choquette, Your Heart’s Desire


“Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Ian MacLaren


“Whatever we say, we’re always talking about ourselves.”

Alison Bechdel


“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror.”

Ken Keyes


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