When people speak well of others, those good words reflect back on themselves, and in the end, they are praising and applauding their own essence. Those who cultivate the habit of speaking well of others are like gardeners who plant flowers and aromatic herbs around their houses— wherever they look out they see a beautiful display and are always in Paradise.
Whenever we speak well of another, that person becomes our friend. When we remember them, we remember a friend, and thinking of a friend is like being near flowers and aromatic herbs. It is refreshment and repose. But when we speak ill of others, those people become repulsive in our eyes.
Why do I always think about myself?
When we think of them or their image even enters our thoughts, it is the same as snakes or scorpions, thorns or thistles appearing before us. Since you can have flowers, aromatic herbs and the meadows of Iram, why do you choose to walk among the brambles and thorns?
Think well of everyone so that you always dwell amongst the fields and meadows. Why do I always think about myself? Once you become the enemy of everyone, the images of your foes surround you day and night like scorpions and snakes.
This is why the saints have a love for all people and think well of whomever they meet—not for the sake of others, but solely for themselves. Since in this world no one can escape talking about other people or encountering their images, the saints struggle to hold everything in their mind and memory in an amicable and positive light, so that hateful images will not block their way. Whatever you say of others returns to yourself.
(Discourses of Rumi).