The power of words
ďOf all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible ó and the most powerful ó was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.Ē
ó Paulo Coelho
Despite a core group of very positive people, I think I can safely say that there is still a lot of negative energy in and toward Rutland. Some days itís easy to ignore, but there are days when I feel I am being suffocated by the constant barrage of negative sentiment that reveals itself online and off.
I would like to implore everyone reading this article to ask yourself a few questions before writing or saying ugly things about Rutland. What is your intention in being negative? Is it to make change? Is it to vent? Is it to blame? Is it to damage? Because what your words might be doing is making Rutland worse. How? Because people get tired of feeling the toxic effects of negative, unconstructive rhetoric. It wears you down. It makes you question why you live here. And if youíre a person who sees yourself as having options, it makes you consider moving. And sometimes you donít just consider it, you do it.
When a confluence of negativity makes someone move out of Rutland, it has long-lasting effects. First, that person is going to tell everyone they know (both in Rutland and in their new home) why they moved. Theyíre going to repeat all of the negative words and actions that caused them to leave. Theyíre also going to stop being a taxpayer and a positive voice and a consumer in Rutland.
The irony of Rutland is, although many people hate the way things are, they also hate change. Iím here to tell you that you canít have it both ways. The things you donít like will never change if you are also vehemently opposed to trying new things. That is a lose/lose scenario. After you live in one place for a long time, you may run out of ideas. When someone comes in with a new idea, perhaps you feel threatened because you already tried that. You donít give consideration to the fact that someone new might look at things from a new angle or have more experience or expertise than you. By clinging to this sense of ownership and ego, we lose sight of our real goal: to make Rutland better.
As residents of Rutland County, we need to be more positive in our discussions. It is OK to bring problems to light and discuss them respectfully, but we canít complain when things stay the same and also when someone tries to change them. We need to encourage new ways of thinking and assure folks who want to move here that they will be part of a positive, forward-thinking community. They do not want to move to a city whose residents constantly belittle it and resist forward motion.
Perhaps the current negativity is simply a result of a long, cold winter. Either way, before crucifying Rutland yet again online, consider these rules for life from Don Miguel Ruizís The Four Agreements:
1. Be impeccable with your word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Donít take anything personally.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you wonít be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Donít make assumptions.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always do your best.
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
Elsie Gilmore is the founder of Urban Mayhem Project, the catalyst for the Rutland Uprising campaign (www.urbanmayhemproject.com).