Pettiness

Pettiness: selfishness, unkindness, hatefulness, undue attention to trifling or unimportant things  

Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up. Sean Covey

Little things affect little minds. Benjamin Disraeli 

It is the little bits of things that fret and worry us; we can dodge an elephant, but we can’t dodge a fly. J Billings

  How often are we guilty of the undesirable practice of pettiness? Some of us tend to excel at it. When we are petty, we are being mean, selfish, and unkind. We focus on small and rather unimportant “trifles” and intentionally try to make someone feel bad, embarrassed, or even ashamed.  We get some sadistic pleasure of treating others in a way we do not like to be treated ourselves. Pettiness is the lack of a loving attitude.

   It is the type of behavior that would cause our mothers to certainly reprimand us. Most of us would agree that pettiness is undesirable and is something we should not do. However, on occasion, we do tend to slip, lose our guard and we become petty. What is it that allows or causes us to show our “pettiness”?

   Think of someone who is petty on a frequent basis. These individuals seem to have a built in sensor that automatically takes advantage of any opportunity to “get” someone. We could get lost in all the psychological reasons why they do this. A common sense approach to this indicates these individuals have self-concept, self-esteem, and self-love deficiencies. The translation is that they do not like themselves. Something is deficient and lacking causing them to lash out and “gig” others. We lash out at others because we are not particularly happy with who and what we are. It is a maladjusted way of projecting our faults and weaknesses onto others. We often see this in people who are “blowhards”, egocentric, in-secure, and self-centered.

   Those who avoid acting in petty ways are more well-balanced and secure. They do not feel any need to lash out at others in order to feel better about themselves. They can be kind to others because they love and accept themselves. The more we accept and love ourselves, the more we are able to be kind and loving to others.  The more we have problems with how we feel about ourselves, the more likely it is we have problems with such flaws as pettiness. Instead of acting petty when someone is less than perfect or makes a mistake, the higher ground is reaching out to them and encouraging them. We have more important things to do than being petty. We should be ashamed of ourselves every time we are petty. You are telling the world you do not like yourself.

Challenge:  How often do you become petty? What are your reasons for this? Do you want to be mean and nasty? Have a sensor that sounds before you act in petty ways. Think before you say or do something that you will regret. Do something good and kind instead of mean and hateful. The cure for this is to invest in developing a better self-concept. If you are unable to love yourself in healthy ways, you will have problems loving others.

Wisdom: Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe. Robert Service

Spiritual:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:33

In God we live and move and have our being.  Acts 17:28

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness….Galatians 5:22

Anything we do that is not done in a spirit of love is something we should not have done. This is a tough and seemingly impossible code to live by. In our own strength we fall short of meeting this extremely high standard. The Bible tells us God is love and he loves us so much he sacrificed himself to save us from our sins. It is God’s love manifesting itself in us that gives us the ability to not only love ourselves but to truly love others as well.  

Prayer:  Help me to avoid pettiness in my life. Help me replace it with a “loving” attitude to others.

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