Gossip is the Devil’s radio. —George Harrison
I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. This always happens when I have a lot of idle time on my hands. In the last few days I’ve done a bit of soul-searching and one of the things that’s come to mind is gossip. How does my participation in gossip make me look as a person? How do I feel knowing that at some point I’ve been the subject of other people’s gossip? Answer: It doesn’t paint me in a very flattering light at all. Knowing that I could have been the cause of someone else’s pain makes me feel horrible and the thought of being the topic of gossip hurts just as bad if not more so.
I would just like to say that in no way am I trying to take the moral high ground here. I am guilty of gossiping. Most everyone is if they’re willing to admit it. Sometimes it’s fun to shoot the breeze and talk about who’s doing what and with whom, but there can be danger in gossip.
The older I get the more I realize there are consequences for my actions and that includes the words coming out of my mouth and who hears them. I say things sometimes and don’t even realize their impact until it’s already been said. Quite often I find myself knee-deep in gossip and I don’t stop to think that the people I’m gossiping about are real and they have feelings just like me. When I take a step back and examine it on the flip side it sort of makes me sick to my stomach to think about what other people may have said about me.
When you gossip you’re jeopardizing someone’s reputation. I don’t think we take enough care to protect something that’s so fragile. Once something is said, even if proven untrue, it can’t be taken back and it’s impossible to completely remove it from our thoughts. Once something is out there it becomes almost impossible to fight. We often say things and attribute it to simply “sharing” information, but when you get right down to it, it’s still gossip and can be very damaging. Most gossip is only the partial truth at best and in most cases not even true at all.
In the moment gossip makes us feel good and talking about someone else’s shortcomings allows us to overlook our own. But gossip damages relationships. When we find out that someone close to us has passed on sensitive information or rumors it’s hard to trust them. It’s also hard to trust someone after they’ve just spilled someone else’s secrets to you. I’ve heard this many times and it’s so true: Those who gossip to you will gossip about you.
There’s fine line between good gossip and bad gossip. It’s ok to share information about someone else if it’s coming from a good place and is intent on being helpful. But when the information goes beyond helpful and into sharing for the sake of sharing that’s where it leads to danger. There’s kind of a fine line there, so it’s best to tread lightly.
I am making a commitment to myself and the people in my life to no longer participate in gossip. Sharing is fine, but when you begin sharing things of an intimate nature that can damage or hurt someone else, that’s where it crosses the line. I’m going to try to stop gossip before it starts and have more meaningful conversations with those around me. Let’s keep conversations positive and explore our relationships with each other in a more meaningful and powerful way.