By Diego Nascimento
The residents of Pripyat / Chernobyl in Ukraine and Goiânia in Brazil know the real meaning of such an alert: “Warning – Toxic Material.” Both sites were the scene of nuclear disasters that killed and left traumatic consequences to the present day. Even after three decades, many objects that have come in contact with radioactive substances remain isolated under a strong security scheme to prevent the nightmare from reoccurring.
My readers know how much I like analogies. In that context, I will take the liberty of alerting you to something dangerous: toxic people. That’s right: toxic people. And don’t think that it’s people around you handling contaminated material (who knows? Laughs …). In fact, the toxicity of which I speak is linked to two deplorable attitudes which are harmful in a matter of seconds: arrogance and gossip. Just wait, I’ll explain this simply.
Arrogance is a disease that needs to be treated and that has poisoned families and relationships of friendship and work. The contaminated person has symptoms such as “haughty look,” pride, aggressive tone of voice and the false perception that he has control over everything, including over the lives of others. The effects are so harmful that the few “friends” that exist are there by virtue of pity or fear.
Gossip already originates from people and situations that we cannot even imagine. Disappointment is the first item on a list of collateral damage that brings tears, unnecessary words, and can even cause death. The treatment is painful, but it is capable of rescuing lives and gathering hearts torn apart by “what so-and-so has told me.” A person who adheres to this disastrous attitude fails to respect himself when he forgets himself, engages in the life of others and sows discord. I say again and again: whoever is gossiping to you, is gossiping about you.
If you are waiting for the good news, here it is: there is a cure for these two problems. In both cases, recognizing that we depend on others and live in community is the first step. No one lives alone. If someone thinks we do, become a garbage collector, cable TV repairman, care for patients in the emergency room, transport fruits and vegetables to supermarkets, and then go back to the real world and consider which is better, A or B. We may rather have different characteristics, however, we are within a system where each one does his part. Even the chair or sofa we use is the result of teamwork which began in extremely simple places.
Referring to the book of Proverbs in chapter 3, verse 13, we find the statement that “Happy is the man who finds wisdom and acquires knowledge.” Through these two important words (wisdom and knowledge) we come to understand how completely unnecessary it is to think that we own the world and that we can act in any way and speak whatever comes to our minds. You are completely mistaken. When wisdom comes from above, given by God, it is guaranteed that our particular set of actions will be rich in sharing what is good, in creating opportunities and in working effectively. Let the Doctor of Doctors, the Sovereign, make a complete treatment. Talk to HIM: the only effective remedy against arrogance and gossip.
Think about it!