It’s easy to be susceptible to gossip, to negative thoughts, to judgment. Venting is normal to want to do and in some cases can be healthy. After a certain point, the healthy aspect of letting something out becomes unhealthy and can be a highly negative aspect of your life. Negative conversations aren’t fun and they usually aren’t very nice.
When we complain it’s usually about a certain person. When we have negative or judgmental thoughts, whether it's about a specific person or not, it's typically triggered by people in our lives. We need to learn to take responsibility for what we say. Too often I hear people say things that they don’t really mean about another person or pass judgment that doesn’t need to be.
One of the things that I know increased my anxiety and negativity was how judgmental I was. When I was unhappy at the school I transferred from, everything made me angry or bitter or jealous. I wasn’t a super nice person because everything that I didn’t like I passed some sort of judgment about. They were ridiculous things that didn’t even matter and besides, weren’t even my business to be judgmental about. As a result of this my anxiety was higher because I thought I was being judged the same way I was judging others. For the most part, people don’t care as much as I did to make every little thing a negative experience.
When I was studying abroad, I noticed how judgmental I could be because I had such positive and warm people around me to point out that I didn’t need to be that way. Now that I have reflected and moved on from that part of my life, I know how much better it is to make sure what I’m saying has worth.
There are some things we are meant to judge: American Idol performances, how well your group in a class is doing that you’re trying really hard to get an A in, if those shoes really look good with the dress you have on. We are not meant to be too harsh on ourselves and we are certainly not meant to be so harsh on others. It’s easy to let our words get away from us, but if we just think before we speak—ask if what you’re saying is productive to the conversation—our environment and moral climate will be much better than just letting our mouths run about whatever happens to be on our mind. When we make better choices, our lives are better and more positive for it.