Nails That Destroy
Author: Byron Pulsifer, © 2012
We all know that nails can be used to attach building materials together to make a very strong and lasting structure. But, there are nails that do not bind together, do not make valuable structures, and are not easily removed once used.
Nails of A Different Type
The nails to which I refer are those that are used by many people either at home or in the work environment. Once these nails are driven in, they not only cannot be removed but they start to deteriorate and crumble that to which they are attached.
One of these types of individuals once worked with me in an environment that was dedicated to helping others control, change, or recover from a variety of both physical and psychological challenges. In this particular case, the person I mention here was a very good counselor. She had the specialized training and the experience that was needed and was able to assist many types of clients move forward from current conditions.
Unfortunately, she also had some of her own challenges to overcome. During the course of our work, there were several occasions that I was able to offer her several new opportunities to help her career develop. She gladly accepted these offers and proceeded to dive right into her new roles.
All Seemed Well
Several months went by and everything seemed to be going very smoothly. But, one late afternoon, I received a visit in my office from another colleague who came in and immediately shut my office door. He sat down heavily and asked if he could speak to me in confidence. I assured him that whatever he said to me would be kept confidentially between us. He then proceeded to tell me a detailed story about the other colleague that I had helped. He painted a picture of a person who, on the surface, seemed to be grateful for my assistance but, behind my back, used every opportunity to drive a nail into my character, and every decision that I made.
My reaction to these revelations was total dismay. I had never heard her complain to anyone, and certainly not to me. I had a really hard time understanding why someone would malign me without giving me a chance to respond, and it was even more astounding since part of her work involved helping others develop honest and forthright communication skills.
I must say this: after these revelations, I started to watch and listen much more carefully. I really didn’t want to believe just one person’s information, so as any normal human being would do, I began to investigate further. It wasn’t long before several others of my colleagues confirmed the same information, which I had hoped I really wouldn’t find.
A Sad Story
The sad part of this story is that the individual in question, continued in the same behavior. Her character was being eroded constantly by her own actions, actions that put nails through the character of others. These types of actions are very difficult to retract once done. After all, we are all only human and each of us has feelings. It is especially difficult to see beyond this kind of character assassination when one has gone out of their way to help them.
For each negative action we take, it has lasting effects that may be totally impossible to erase even if we could retract those actions. We are all responsible and accountable for what we do or say even if those behaviors occur in stressful times.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
“The circumstances amid which you life determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character. Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are.” William Hersey Davis
“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.” J. C. Watts
“Every one person who trusts you will spread the word of that trust to at least a few of their associates, and word of your character will spread like wildfire. The value of the trust others have in you is far beyond anything that can be measured.” Kevin Allen
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