It is said that in the Solomon Islands, killing a tree is not to chop it down from its roots but to stand around if for 30 days and scream insults and ill sayings about it. The tree slowly dies off and people merely carry the dead tree away, having done all this without lifting an ax.
Similarly, a lot of us kill off the mere living of those around us. Every day we sentence them to innumerable insults and ill sayings about themselves, their work or their choice in family and friends. We wish upon such a dark environment that not only do we stop thinking positive, but we make all those around us pessimists too. I’m not insinuating that we all do this on a day to day basis, but we do it almost naturally.
Didn’t like how the stew was made?
“Oh the cook doesn’t even know how to make it. My 5 year old daughter knows better. She/He should just stop cooking and making a fool of themselves. ”
Didn’t like the story of the book?
“The person who wrote this doesn’t deserve to be an author. Oh my diary entry makes more sense than this book!”
Didn’t like how your son’s girlfriend dresses up?
“Oh, she dresses like a whore! Did you see how short that skirt was? I bet she’s with my son only for the money. Gold digger!”
Didn’t like the way your teacher taught you back in high school?
“Oh, she/he just couldn’t teach… They had no sense or knowledge of the subject whatsoever! Sheesh, self teaching is the only way, else I’ll fail!”
Your son/daughter made a small mistake while doing some work?
“What is wrong with you? Can you do nothing right? One simple task I had asked you to do, that also you couldn’t do? You’re a loser! Nothing can ever be done right from your hands. Just go an sit somewhere, else you’ll spoil the work I have done so far too!”
Many a times we forget that our words makes a difference. Maybe not to ourselves, but to the people around us, to whom we speak those words to. On an average, a person is said to insult someone or the other 75% of the time only cause they were dissatisfied with what they got in return. At the same time, we too are forced to face insults when something goes wrong by our hands. Did we do it purposely? No. Did we mean to dissatisfy them? No. Did we get a chance to correct our wrong before the insults began? No. Did you like hearing those insults? No. So why put another person through something you personally didn’t like being put on you? Our words or rather anyone’s words have a huge impact on those who listen. Listen not hear. Why? Because listening is much more different than hearing. Listening means to hear those words, imply its meaning and apply them to ourselves. So if I were to listen to someone saying something ill about myself, I am 100% sure I will think about it later, and truly believe that I may be all those bad things.
Name calling, insults, taunts and verbal abuse all lead to only one thing, and this low self respect and self worth to a person. But at the same time, if someone was to compliment, praise or flatter someone else, the person in response would feel much better about themselves and try working much better at making the good better. Should we praise someone if they did something wrong? No. We shouldn’t praise them for a mistake, but not insult them either. Yes, show them they are wrong, but at the same time show them the path to improve. That way they can see that even though they are wrong, there is a way to right it. Calling a person something bad, doesn’t only reduce your frustration on their ill doing, but increases the doubts they have on themselves about their being. You call me an idiot the first time, I may not respond. The second or third or even the fifth time I may not think much of it, but the sixth time yes, I will. Not because it will only register then, but because it’s been said so many times. Why would someone say it 6 times? If they do, it certainly means that there is something wrong with me. It definitely means I can do nothing right. There you go. Self doubt created.
Do you know what will happen to that one tiny seed of self doubt? It will nurture into a big tree of self doubts and worthless thoughts such that the person will never think anything positive things about themselves. If someone happens to genuinely praise them, they will not believe them and think that they are up to something or require something. The tree will not shrink, nor will it ever “chop down”. It will be there. Always. Standing tall and ready to cast a shadow at all the praises and compliments that make its way through.
The only way the tree will “die” is the Solomon Islands way. Consistently feed it good words, praises and compliments. Keep positive people around, and maybe, just maybe, will the tree shrink and hide away. But will it surely? No guarantee. It depends on how deep the roots sowed. As they say; taller the tree, deeper its roots reach. A person with self doubt is withdrawn, acts without question, answers without reason. He or she may dig up a hole for themselves and live a lonely life with no friends or family, creating a bubble that they think is safe. Or they might not even step aside, instead they might stay with you, eat with you, laugh with you and even smile with you; but in their mind a constant notion of “Am I enough? Am I right? Am I loved? Am I liked? Am I wanted?….” rings around much like the rings around Saturn. Did you mean for the person to become like this? I guess not. But they did, and now the only way to bring the person back is to reverse what you did in the first place.
Doing what must be done, may help or may not help; but its risk well taken anyway.