Be the Person That Shines Light on Others
Spread positive-gossip, and share your flame
My thirteen-year-old daughter is struggling at school. Teenage girls throughout the generations appear to all go through this phase. They look for things that make people different or magnify their own insecurities by demeaning others around them.
It isn’t nice to watch the effect, but there isn’t a great deal you can do. So I’ve focussed on trying to let her know what she can focus on. And I want her to focus on lifting people up, rather than trying to bring them down.
It made me reflect on the people I’ve met. There are those who everyone seemed to enjoy being around. These people lift the mood in the room, they create great connections with the people they meet. They seem to make the people around them happier, better, and more wholesome.
These are the people that I enjoy being around, and this is the type of person I know my daughter can be.
Here are the two things I’ll talk to her about.
Spreading gossip can be good
Some people just love gossip. It is central to their communication with everyone around them. It is the thing that sells magazines, and get clicks on websites.
It isn’t always malicious or comments that are undefendable, but it is always about someone that isn’t present. And there are reasons that people do it.
In a 2019 behavioural meta-analysis(of 467 people) on their personal interactions identified that they spent on average ‘gossiping’ for about 50 minutes a day. However, most of it was deemed neutral, with around 15% deemed negative and 9% positive. This means that most gossip is just idle chit-chat, status and updates without insinuation or negativity.
So, why do we gossip?
The study outlined several key reasons; it was fundamental to the spread of important information before the internet, so all of our ancestors relied on it. They stayed safe learning through this type of communication. But some people put too much faith in it without thinking about it themselves.
Next, it is vital for bonding. It feels like a shared secret, and that requires a connection. When you share something not well known, you can increase your value in the listener's opinion. But too many people believe this is their only currency.
Lastly, it is important for learning social norms. Bad things get talked about disparagingly, good things get talked about positively. Those who hear about it can learn what is expected of them in certain situations and grow their social cues library.
But none of these are the reasons that I think spreading gossip can be good. It was mentioned in the behavioural analysis that only 9% of gossip was positive. This is the thing that I reflected on for the people I like to be around. They are always talking positively about people who aren’t there. They are positive gossipers.
So, I talked to my daughter and said that I wanted her to be a spreader of positive gossip. Replace the tendency to look for differences or surface insecurities with the reflection of all the positive things you can say about someone else.
Do this, and be known as a positive gossiper, and good things will come.
Share the flame
There are some people who are like crabs in a bucket.
If you put a heap of crabs in a bucket, they will look to escape, they don’t like being exposed. But as one of the crabs climbs to the top and starts to climb up the wall, the other crabs will grab them. Trying to also get up the sides. In doing this, the crab who was close to getting out is pulled back down into the bucket.
The same things happen with networks of people. Some friends circles look for reasons to drag people back, telling them to not try and do something because it’s silly. Telling them that it wouldn’t be worth it. Telling them to be realistic and stop dreaming.
These people are those in the mire of the bucket, dragging those closer to the edge back in. Settling them in the group. Instead, there is a different approach you can take.
A candle loses nothing by lighting another — James Keller
So, I said to my daughter, if you find yourself in a position to help someone else, do it. It does nothing to diminish your light but lifts them up. Encourage them to seek out others who might help them chase their dreams. Don’t try to dissuade them, help them find more information.
And, if you find yourself in a position of power at some point, don’t try to hold it by diminishing others. Share it.
Lift them up, share your light. Light their candle. It does nothing to diminish you, but it means a great deal to them.
So, I said to my daughter. Be the person that shines the light. Turn gossip to the positive, lift those around you instead of dragging them down and you’ll fast become someone that people love to be around. The things that seemed important, like winning the good opinion of someone at school, will diminish.
This is the energy that people love, the light that doesn’t try and be the brightest but shines on everyone around them, and that is the right kind of power.
It still won’t be easy, there will be hard days at high-school. But this can make a big difference.
Inspired by life. Leadership, Growth, Personal Development. Engineer and Sports Enthusiast. Top Writer in Leadership. https://medium.com/@spurtapurton