I’ve had to think long and hard about this word, because I am very, very guilty of speaking ill of other people. I think we all are, to some extent. We all have the ability to traduce people, some of them we don’t even know, when we make those snap judgments about the person ahead of us in line that takes too long (in our opinions) to place their order. Or that person on the bus or train that smells just a little bit more ripe than we’d like. I type this with a little bit of humor, not because I’m trying to make light of our judgments, but because I need to laugh about these judgments and how ridiculous they are.
In my case, I don’t often verbalize the slanderous things I say, but I speak them in my head, which is just as bad (or maybe even worse). I would not be surprised in the slightest if research has shown that thinking these malicious thoughts of others affects our attitudes and interactions with them. I know it has for me, in far too many ways. I’ve done this at work, and I’m certain it has reenforced my pessimism. I’ve been traduced for my own pessimism by a loved one, and after my relationship ended, I know that I made statements in my head to discharge my hurt and discomfort. I still do this today, but I’m trying very hard to be cautious about this because there really is no meaningful reason or purpose to traduce another person. For me, traducing someone is similar to blaming someone for a wrongdoing, because it is a way to dispel pain, hurt, and discomfort. But it comes from a place that isn’t authentic; it is judgmental, negative, and baneful to myself and to others. Empathy isn’t an easy attribute to cultivate, but in order to do so, I am beginning to believe that I must eradicate traducing others.