We all know what it is.
I think we have all been guilty of gossiping at one time or another, and we have all been gossiped about.
We all know what gossip is: It is all the sensational or intimate rumors about a person that is not said to that person’s face.
Here is a hint: if we are talking about someone in a way that we would not want them to know about, we are probably gossiping.
The thing we also know about gossip is that it is intimately seductive. It puts us “in the know.” We are instantly “on the inside.” Oooh. It feels so good.
As with many things, however, with gossip there is a cost.
While gossip allows us instantly to feel like insiders, we at the same time create someone who is on the “outside.” The person being gossiped about is not in the know. They become an object of our discussion, ridicule, and distaste. They effectively become an “other.”
Once the “other” is created, disrespectful actions and behavior towards that person may ultimately be condoned, and even encouraged by our wider community.
Maybe it starts with no eye contact, a dismissive tone, and goes from there. When taken to the extreme, this type of attitude and behavior, once the “other” has been created, can and has lead to the sanctioning of some of the most heinous hate crimes humanity has ever witnessed.
Gandhi said that it is the struggle within each of us that ultimately results in great destruction. He said that all wars and violence have started from the hatred or anger held in someone’s heart. All wars and violence have started from the creation of the “other.”
At one time, I saw gossip as harmless entertainment, or perhaps as a valid social means of setting and enforcing standards. This, in turn, lead me to enlisting the feeling of warm approval from my peers.
Since reading the Four Agreements and learning the importance of being impeccable with my word, I have more deeply understood that gossip is not a behaviour which is in alignment with the person I aspire to be.
In my law office, there is a specific agreement that we be gossip-free. We are totally on each other’s side. Just hang out in our office and you will see a marked difference from many work places. For a law office, it is a pretty pleasant place to be.
Have you also ever noticed that the people you profoundly respect are not gossipers?
My friend – let’s call her Karen - comes to mind. Try and gossip with her. It will go nowhere. Yet, if I feel I have something deeply personal and tender to share, I can trust her without reservation. More people should behave like Karen does.
So what do we do if we find ourselves getting sucked in to gossiping about someone else?
I say we let it die on the vine.
And what do we do when we learn someone has been gossiping about us?
Instead of being twisted, hurt and angry about it, we respect the fact that all of us are on our own journeys, and that our journey begins and ends with loving allowance for ourselves and others.
What this means is that we forgive ourselves and try to learn what we did that assisted in creating these rumors. We will not get into blaming those who feel they can talk about us rather than talk to us.
Remember what people think of us is their business, not ours.
This article is written by Val Hemminger, the nonconforming professional
Return from Gossip