Petty is defined by the urban dictionary as the following:
- Making things, events, or actions ordinary people dismiss as trivial or insignificant into excuses to be upset, uncooperative, childish, or stubborn.
- A person who habitually overreacts.
- A person who is purposefully childish with the intent of eliciting a reaction.
For example, someone can accidentally steps on you on a crowded bus, and instead of letting it go cause it was a mistake, you decided to unleash a torrent of verbal abuse on them instead. Another example is texting someone, and they don’t reply immediately, so you choose to ignore them for a week in return. Or even slow down your car when someone is trying to tailgate. Point being that there are many incidences where we can choose to be petty and not to let things go, and we have all been there and done that at one stage or another.
If a petty person feels wronged in any way, they will do anything in their power to bring the person down with them. Why do we do these things:
- The world is filled with cruel people, and sometimes its seems like they get away with it, so we will just be trying to everyday heroes and help put the bad guys in their place.
- It feels empowering to put someone in their place especially if they have hurt you. #enoughsaid
However, as good as it seems, sometimes we have to look behind the curtain as to why we can’t let things go and or act passive aggressively like doing the dishes and leaving your flatmates or leaving someone’s text on read.
Recently I was listening to The Friend zone Podcast (side note this is a really cool podcast that is funny and thought provoking. You can listen to them here). They did an episode on pettiness, and it really got me thinking about why we are petty. Some of the possible reasons for petty behaviour discussed were:
- We are hurt or Insecure
- We have issues we are yet to address, and someone pressed a hot button that has brought those up
- We are either one of the two extremes. One extreme is being too quiet, so we react passively aggressive or we are too outspoken and lash out without thinking it through.
I agree with the reasons, and it takes introspection to identify our triggers and chose to let things go. Growing up I was always told to leave revenge to God and part of me did not trust God to defend me, so l did that myself and missed opportunities to minister his love and forgiveness to others. Other times l kept silent when l should have spoken up, and the real wisdom knows when to let go and when to speak up. When we do speak to not speak out of anger or rage.
Proverbs 29:11 states that, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 also says, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” So it takes wisdom to avoid pettiness. It’s not the popular notion right now, but the energy it takes to retaliate can be invested into something else.
Next time before you are petty, think about the reason behind it and if its worth your energy.
Until next time, live an enchanted life!