My good friend who took me to Ash Wednesday mass always said, “There is so much goodness in people.  The trick is how one draws it out!” She went on to tell me this story: A guy, we’ll call Mike, was walking down the street murmuring the word, “Stupid”.  He walked past a man he didn’t see standing in the corner while he kept on saying, “Stupid.” The bystander heard him and went crimson red with rage and yelled, “Are you calling me stupid?”  Mike turned and walked slowly toward him and asked, “Is your name Stupid?” LOL… Now who’s stupid? Clearly our responses come from somewhere within us.


Seems to me the raging little boy [within the man] standing in the corner reacted. Perhaps that was his middle name as a little boy growing up. I know a man whose mother used to call him “Useless”. Another thought his name was Freddy No.

What do you think of people who come down on their friends and colleagues like vultures, criticizing, maligning, ridiculing, scorning, blaming, insulting, and belittling them? Actual vultures feed on decaying flesh of dead animals, but these human vultures pick others apart while they are still alive. Our family members are supposed to be our closest friends, yet even they may engage in the same malicious tactics. Someone said that it’s time to impose a cease-fire, and the best way to start is to become aware of our actions and to accept responsibility for them.  Do I hear myself speak or think?

When we criticize others, we do not expose them, but expose ourselves. We broadcast our own weakness and smallness. For as an unknown author wrote, “The most censorious are generally the least judicious (sensible), or deserving, who, having nothing to recommend themselves, will be finding fault with others. — No man envies the merit of another who has enough of his own.”

What would you think if I were to tell you that I’m brilliant? Would you be impressed? Not at all, you would think that I’m vain or delusional. For this reason, rather than boasting about our imagined greatness, we disguise what we wish to say by criticizing others. Yet, those who are genuinely superior don’t speak about it, and those who believe they are inferior, pretend to be [superior] by tearing others to pieces.

Our criticism tears down their self-esteem. They feel unloved and experience self-doubt. Before their wounds have time to heal, we stab them again and again in the same place. No wonder the man standing in the corner reacted to the word “stupid” uttered by a total stranger. It touched a raw wound in his heart. His pain was real. How can we be so cruel? Why are we so vicious? It is because of our own insecurities.

Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” She also advised, “Spread love everywhere you go: First of all in your own house… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” [/restrict]