This is Why We Talk Shit
This isn’t a case of me telling you how to live because what I’m about address today is something we all do, myself included. Today I’ll be writing about shit-talking; talking shit about other people. Taking away from their achievements by attacking their characters. We all do this to some degree at some stage. You’d have to assume it’s a characteristic of being human considering none of us can escape from it.
I think we talk shit about others out of jealousy, and that jealousy stems from insecurity. When someone else achieves something, especially if it something we ourselves would like to achieve, it drums up a storm of insecurity within. “How come I haven’t done that yet and they have?” We’ll begin to question our own abilities and sometimes may even become sour towards the person who achieved their goal.
When this happens, we can often begin to resent the person, and so when that person is brought up in conversation, an inclination to talk shit about them may arise. This is a coping mechanism to soothe a damaged ego, and if you convince yourself (and others) that the person is inherently flawed, corrupt etc. then their achievement holds less weight and you feel better about your own perceived shortcomings.
I’ve noticed this behaviour in myself from time to time. If someone else had achieved in a field I wished to achieve in, my opinion of them began to sour. It’s not a good way to look at things. Your opinion of someone else shouldn’t be ruined due to a fear of your own limitations. This is a very common thought pattern though, especially so here in Ireland. When someone attempts to push the envelope, we tend to try and drag them back down, for fear of them making us feel badly about ourselves.
When you begin to achieve in your field then, the achievements of others may not fill you with resentment. This is probably due to the fact that you have a sense of value now that you are succeeding, and so others succeeding doesn’t bother you anymore. However, there’s still an issue here because the locus of value is external rather than internal. It still focuses too much on what other people are doing relative to yourself, and that will eventually lead you back down the path to resentment.
As I said in the beginning, I’m not sure it there is a ‘fix’ for this sort of coping mechanism. I think it might be too deeply embedded within us. I do think however, that you can reduce its presence if you’re aware of it. These days, if I find myself wanting to talk shit about someone else, I ask myself why that is? More often than not, the person hasn’t don’t anything other than work hard and succeed, and that made me face up to my own shortcomings. That isn’t their fault at all, it’s mine. And so talking negatively about them would only work to tarnish my character, and reinforce an insecurity.
So the next time you feel like talking shit, ask yourself why. And when it turns out to be motivated by jealousy (and it will) don’t bother.