If you’ve ever worked in a toxic environment, you’ve probably discovered that people are abrasive. They have crass words and abrasive attitudes. They are like sandpaper. Sandpaper has various textures from coarse to fine. People’s attitudes are the same way. Some are coarse and crusty, others have a slight edge to them that needs to be sanded off. In toxic conditions it’s hard to bite your tongue and not let negativity grab ahold of you.
Take an quick self-evaluation of your attitude. How is your attitude showing up? Are you like coarse sandpaper that leaves people feeling sore from your abrasive words? Do you “sand” people with abasiveness? Do they feel somewhat raw after an encounter with you? Did you manage to withhold your words, or do people feel like you’ve sanded a patch right off them? Did they flinch when you said it, or wonder why you were so abrasive and cruel?
Maybe you were less aggressive, like fine sandpaper used for more delicate things. Did your words still sting? Did you leave fine sandpaper “dust on the floor” from even your small, brief verbal exchanges? A bitter word, perhaps? A negative complaint about them or the work they do? Look at the “floor” after your conversations. How much dust is on the floor? How big is your pile? Now, what if you used your sandpaper language every day? How much self-esttem would your target have left, if, every day you rubbed them the wrong way with your verbal aggression?
I know, I’m asking you to be honest and consider the power of your words. You can change the atmosphere of a room by your words and attitude. Kind words soothe the soul, verbal aggression leaves a hole. Look around you. Are people happy to be by your side? Do they like receiving your encouraging words, or do your words leave a gaping hole in their heart?
It’s always good to do an attitude check and make honest efforts to bring your absolute best, even in difficult situations. Let your words bring life and positivitiy to the environment and see how things will change.