In politics when a candidate is running for election and repeatedly attacks one of his or her political opponents, they are said to be "going negative." When a candidate does this they are switching the focus from promoting their own strengths and merits to focusing on how much worse off they believe things would be if their opponent were elected. When a candidate goes negative, they are trying to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt.. Such tactics are unfortunatelynot limited to the world of politics. In fact, most of us have probably engaged in some form of attempting to lift ourselves up by putting others down, perhaps using statements such as ....
"Our product is so much better than their product-in fact if you buy/use their product you will really regret it."
"That school is not nearly as good as our school - the students there are not nearly as well prepared as our students.
"I"m so glad that our church is so much more enlightened than that other church!"
"We are so much better parents than most of the parents we know."
"We really work at our relationship-not like most couples I know."
We all do it. We compare ourselves to others, and of course we are the ones who inevitably come out looking best in that comparison.
The "meme" at the top of this column was recently posted on our Living Compass Facebook page. It received a great deal of positive reaction, in part, because I think it speaks to this common struggle that we all have of competing with and comparing ourselves to others. I know that when I am most likely to build myself up by putting others down is when I am feeling insecure. I am not proud to say that out of my insecurity I can be critical or others, but it is true.
It takes a lot of energy for a flower to bloom. The same is true for people. When we spend our energy going negative or competing with others, we divert the energy we need to bloom. I know, for myself, it takes all the energy I have to foster the blooms in my own garden. I needn't worry about others as I don't have time and energy to waste pointing out the weeds or lack of blooms in someone else's garden.
What helps you to bloom? If you are like me, there are probably many contributing factors. Hard work, perseverance, a clear and inspired vision, and support from others are a few of the factors that help me bloom--along with a commitment to refrain from going negative and trying to compare myself to or compete with others. There is more than enough room in this world for all of us to bloom.