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“It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one. Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speak of persons instead of things.”   Lawrence G. Lovasik

“Gossip needn’t be false to be evil – there’s a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around.”    Frank A. Clark

“Don’t worry about those who talk behind your back. They’re behind you for a reason.”  Unknown

“The girls who gossip to you, most likely also gossip about you.”    Unknown

“Strong people don’t put others down. They lift them up.”    Michael P. Watson

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”  Socrates

“How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.”     Steve Maraboli

“Gossip is spread by wicked people. They stir up trouble and break up friendships.”    Proverbs

The word gossip brings cringes to most people. None of us like to be accused  of gossiping. It is the most common form of recreation, that we all indulge in, no mater how old we are. Questioning our reasons for participating in it, is very important. Many times we lose sight of the damage that it causes. It appears to be harmless, so we rarely stop. Perhaps we should question why we feel the need to trash others. Again the use of the word trash makes us uncomfortable.

Most of us would exclaim that we are simply speaking the truth as we know it, and sharing that truth with another. Whenever someone has harmed us, or performed in a manner we disliked, we desire to either retaliate, or share the incident with others. It is compelling to share, because we somehow assume, we alleviate the pain. I for one do not reduce my hurt. I end up feeling drained, and begin over thinking the incident, that  was the cause of the gossip. Now it seems even bigger than I thought in the first place. At times I even proceed to add in a few previous incidences. Now I am really fired up and shed my story  many times.

When I feel relieved, or have another incident worth discussing, I put the first one to rest. The problem is, I always experience a keyed up feeling. It is anything but relaxing, and my mind becomes a swirl of energy, focused  on everything irritating. Needless to say, I have become tired of the scenario, and have begun changing my attitudes. I already feel better with clearer thinking. My brain is not spinning with useless stories. I also sense a release of unnecessary judgements, about worthless information.

Analyzing the gossip of others, starts to become meaningless. Truthfully it is a waste of time. It isn’t like I received any relief from my stress, I just defused and shared problems with others, whom I most likely bored. Many friends agree with us out of courtesy, friendship or comraderie. Their opinion on the gossip, perhaps carries little faith in reality.

I attribute most foul moods, to bad days, and not bad people. In our defense we might say, When I spoke about my friend,  I didn’t mean she was bad, controlling, interfering, nasty, mean, judgmental, angry or negative. Whatever the adjectives, the idea is we have assessed them, and we don’t like what we see. Maybe we recognize  ourselves in them. Probably we can attribute the bad day, to our own distressful mood. None of us make time, to check out how we are doing. Beliefs, attitudes and stresses of the day will perhaps put us under duress. It is up to us to squelch unhealthy habits.

We may be stressed out with our jobs and obligations. It gets to be overwhelming, and we can’t find a way out. The need to release anger is  strong. This leads us to those people we find irritating, perhaps even on a  good day. Whatever the reasons are, that cause us to focus on them, our fault-finding becomes the fuel that lights our fire. We are so charged up, that we begin dispersing  words and actions on them, that were never really a part of the original hassle. Our minds trick us into believing there are certain meanings present in our exchanges. In actuality,  perhaps there was never a disparaging connotation meant. It might just be the way we interpreted their remarks, or actions. This obviously leads us down a seriously dangerous path. It is the dreamed up  route of possibilities.

Truthfully, we never know the genuine meaning, behind a person’s  words or actions. That leaves it up to us to figure it out. On a bad day, we choose to be angry,  build up the intensity of the words and actions, and then play them out to others. On a good day, we might  just ignore the words or actions, and chuck it up to  their bad day. Perhaps we look for the negative meaning ourselves, rather than the positive gesture. I have concluded that many people may be innocent of our accusations, but they can’t defend themselves when they are not present during our gossiping moments.

We have all given up so many of our choices. We go along with the gossipers so as to keep  their friendship and peace. We and others, twist many happenings into something evil, when it was likely never intended. In the end we become enraged, and we spend wasteful time and energy dealing with incidences that may have been accidental, or misinterpretations. Of course the stressful part of it is huge. We are agitated, angry, and full of anxiety. Whenever a friend adds fuel to our fire with total agreement, it ends up engulfing us with rage.

Probably the kindest  thing a friend could do for us is listen and attempt to allay our fears, about the situation. Keeping it all in perspective, and staying on neutral ground, may defuse our fire, rather than sparking it into a blaze. Gossip is perhaps the worst on us. By recalling a time you were angry with another person, you might remember the tightness of the muscles, the fire in your cheeks and the angry thoughts in your mind. It certainly wasn’t a good feeling.

The end result is defamation of one’s name and character. We can’t take the words back, and replay our part in the damage we cause. On a clear thinking day, we must understand that the talking hurts a real person. We may end up having to eat our own words, suffer the consequences, or be filled with regret, from the nagging of our conscience. Knocking a person down doesn’t ever raise someone up. We actually are pulling them down on top of us.

I remember a person whose Idea of a compliment, was to praise someone, and then refer to another person who didn’t meet that mark. I always wanted to mention, there wasn’t a need to criticize another person, while offering a kind compliment to someone  else. Somehow she believed she had to repress another, in order to raise the receiver of the compliment’s ego.

Suffice to say I have been attempting to  avoid difficult, angry and negative people. I don’t want to catch their attitudes. It has lightened my mood, and made me happier. It allows me to gain the quick access, while keeping me away from the bad mood. I am not as stressed, and I find my conversations are more enlightening. I can reflect on what was said, rather than drag myself down in the mud, over gossip. We can all steer clear of gossip and find relief. Spread kindness in its’ place.

 “These are the few ways we can practice humility: To speak as little as possible of one’s self. To mind one’s own business. Not to want to manage other people’s affairs. To avoid curiosity. To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully. To pass over the mistakes of others. To accept insults and injuries. To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked. To be kind and gentle even under provocation. Never to stand on one’s dignity. To choose always the hardest.” Mother Teresa


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