“If you wish to be well spoken of, learn to speak well of others: and when you have learned to speak well of them, try to act well so that people have something good to talk about.” – Epictetus
How we act has the biggest impact on how we make other people feel. People always remember how they feel when they are in our presence. They might not remember the things we say or exactly what we do but they will always remember that feeling they have when they are with us.
If we want people to remember that feeling as a good feeling – and we should want people to feel good about being around us, the best measurement of our character and who we are as people is how they feel when we are around – then we need to discipline ourselves in the practice of speaking kindly about those who are not around without sounding self righteous. If you do not gossip, you have no reason to admonish a gossip. Just don’t be like them. Once we have mastered not gossiping without telling others not to gossip we can focus on our next level, whatever that might be.
Maybe we want to spread kindness. Great. But we should want to do so quietly, from the back ground, without bringing it to everyone’s attention. It might take longer to have it become recognized as part of our character but that is because it takes time to actually become part of our character.
Once we master these things, people will feel good about being around us. When people feel good about us, they tend to speak well of us.
virtus fortis vocat