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Showing posts with label unpleasant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unpleasant. Show all posts

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Pettiness: Only Appropriate for Tom and Richard

For a few fortunate people being 'Petty' is a very profitable and successful way of life:  Just ask Richard and the family of the late Tom Petty.   Being 'Petty' has worked very well for them, indeed.   However, I've found that being petty or pettiness usually doesn't work well and doesn't really better our lives and those around us in the long term.  I believe whatever short term 'benefits' we get from being petty usually come at a cost.  Below is what I see as the 'cost' and 'benefits' of pettiness.

'Cost' of pettiness
  • Makes you look smaller.
  • If it is in response to another person's own pettiness, you've given them a victory by agreeing to their rules of engagement.
  • You give up energy (emotion/physical/spiritual) that can and should be devoted to more productive endeavors.
  • If it is born out of conflict, you lose the opportunity to defuse or end the conflict and instead may add fuel to the conflict.
  • It can invite a unpleasant response from the target of your pettiness, especially if they can see it for what it is.

'Benefits' of pettiness
  • Gives you temporary 'satisfaction' of having punished to someone.
  • If in response to conflict, you are announcing there are consequences for another creating or pushing conflict.
  • It can be a way of making a point with limited effort.
  • It can sometimes actually allow you to get your way.   Some people, just don't like petty conflict and just will try to avoid it.

What pettiness is not (and why it should be avoided):
  • Being the bigger person in a conflict.
  • An exhibition of positive principles that the Golden Rule implies
  • Leading by example or setting a good example.
  • A way of breaking the stalemate in conflict.
  • Being a man or woman of honor.

My general philosophy has always been that I should hold myself to a standard that I'd hope for out of others, especially towards me.  Put another way: "Don't expect others to treat you a preferred way, unless you are willing to treat them that way as well."  For example, if I don't wish to be yelled by another, it is imperative that I do not resort to yelling at that person.  If I expect be treated like I know what I'm doing, I should start with the assumption that know what they are doing.  As it relates to pettiness, if I expect to be treated with decency from others and not pettiness, it is imperative that I do not choose pettiness as an acceptable way of treating them.  Sure, I might be able to get away with it and they may not immediately realize I was petty to them, but ultimately, I will and my Higher Power will.  Besides, I think even if they can't point a finger to a specific case of it, most people will eventually be able to sense pettiness (or disrespect) directed towards them.  For example, I could purposely badmouth someone behind their back, purposely get their order wrong without it being blamed on me or something like that.  However, eventually, the person who I am being petty to will likely catch on and I will have to pay consequences for it.

My takeaway about pettiness (in no particular order):
  • It's beneath us
  • It is a wasteful use of energy.
  • It is potentially a cop-out for dealing with resentment and other relationship issues.
  • It may not be a 'sin' per se, but it is clearly not in keeping with the golden rule

So, IMHO, we should do ourselves a favor and avoid it.  If it is masking relationship issues, then the deal with the underlying issues.  Trying to deal with it by pettiness is a long term loser.

Just my thoughts.