The termite is a little creature, and has been around since the age of the dinosaur, if not before. To look at it, it seems really quite harmless, but as we know, looks can be very deceptive, for those little creatures can destroy huge structures, can create such incredible havoc, and can do irreparable damage...
They are survivors, and the reason they have been around for so long is because they are good at what they do. Working together, as a group, having a queen, similar to a bee or ant colony, they gnaw their way through life, taking down anything that stands in their way. In the great scheme of nature, they have their place, and are invaluable in what they do, as they seem to be nature's vacuum cleaners, destroying and making way for other structures. However, as far as I can see, termite intention is not about the good they inadvertently do, but simply about survival, taking down whatever gets in their way, destroying the foundations that interrupt their path.
There are many forms of termite mentality in our human behavioral patterns. Those people who, without intending to destroy, never the less, and most often not even aware that their negative behavior is having a destructive effect on others, complain, moan, point the finger at others short comings, always have something negative to say about any situation they encounter. It becomes a habit, that chewing, gnawing, negative attitude, and inevitably it will destroy. Termite mentality, as we will call it, is present in all of us, to some degree or another. In other words, we can all moan and complain, sometimes to the degree that we get on a roll, and become completely disenchanted with a person or a project for no good reason other than we became buried in our own negativity...we inadvertently destroy..we allow our negativity to undermine our commonsense, our reason, and our ability to give the benefit of the doubt.
A perfect example of termite mentality is when, years ago, my sisters and I would get together. A very rare occasion, and probably just as well, because before long, we would always get onto the subject of our childhood, and then, boy, would we begin to chew, to gnaw at all the injustices we had to endure. Things that had happened years before, cruel and mean behavior by one parent or another, and so on and so on. We were like termites, really making a feast of the foundation of our family, which, no matter how bad it was, did teach us many valuable lessons. We would make a meal of all the negativity, greedily gobbling it up, and in the process, destroying any solid foundation we had worked hard to build since those miserable years. It was always the same, and I was just as bad as the others, and always left holding on to those long ago but not forgotten feelings which would then begin to consume me, to destroy, yet once again, my self worth and self esteem.
Another example is when I worked in an office, years ago. We had an office manager who just loved to create disharmony and discontent....loving, even if unconsciously, the drama. She just loved trouble. As soon as one of us would leave the room she would begin, encouraging the rest of us to talk about that person behind their back. I was young, but it soon became clear to me that if she did this with everyone else, she was certainly doing this to me. The result was an office full of women who did not trust each other, and who were very discontent. Soon people began to leave, I left, and finally the bosses figured out what was happening and fired the manager. Unfortunately, not soon enough. Her termite mentality had caused the office to lose good people, had destroyed a really good foundation..but she didn't do it alone. We all got drawn in, we all played a part, we all became like termites, we all wanted to fit in. We all, at least for a time, bought into someone else's negative behavior.
We all do it, we all have our moments when we chew and gnaw, and we do need to vent, it's natural...but when do we need to stop. It's easy, but only if we're prepared to listen. Criticism...there are two kinds, one constructive and one destructive. Which are you more apt to use first? And what about the people around you, those who affect you, those who you pay attention to, who you listen to, whether you want to or not? What kind of energy do they have? How many people do you know who affect you adversely because they have that destructive termite mentality?
Before you answer these questions, ask yourself this...are you a person who is generally someone who is positive, even though there are times when you can and are drawn into negativity? Or, are you a person who is generally someone prone to negative thinking, but who can, when around positive people, be just as positive as they?
We all know of those people who we refer to as born troublemakers. Those who can undermine the very foundation of an organization can undermine relationships; destroy a person's faith in another, or in themselves. Not termites, but certainly having that termite, that destructive and negative attitude.
When I am having one of those termite moments, often caused by disillusionment, my expectations of myself or others not met, I can drag myself into a place of darkness, not able to see a light at the end of whatever tunnel I view myself as being in. And I destroy. I destroy my self confidence, my faith, and my ability to trust. Just like the termite, I nibble away at my life, at the foundation, at the core of who I am.
How often in your life have you allowed someone else to create a seed of doubt, a seed of negativity to creep in?
How often in your life has this happened to you?
How often have you, deliberately or otherwise, placed a seed of doubt in someone else's mind, to cause them to think your way?
And what can we do about it?
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