Gossip—Drinking Poison, Hoping Someone Else Will Die
Gossip — Such an ugly thing . . .
And yet appealing in so many ways.
I feel gossip is an excellent indicator of where we are in our respective lives. The times I’ve chosen to gossip have been when I was least happy in myself, my circumstance, looking for some way to feel better.
Gossiping to me is usually the darker side of one’s character, looking for a way to feel superior in that moment. It can either be due to knowing something someone else doesn’t, so getting that surprised reaction gratifies.
There’s also that satisfaction from bringing down another, especially if some envy is not being addressed.
“The worst part of success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.” Bette Midler
And it can be done in various forms. One can sound ‘concerned’ for the other party, but at the same time, spilling the beans of another’s life. Of course, the appeal of this concern is that one can feel virtuous while also feeling the thrill of gossip.
Others can sound like they’re the news channel, merely reporting on what ‘has to be told’ — as a public service. It usually begins with some version of “Much as I don’t want to say this, but I heard…” Promoted as a selfless act, merely looking for others to ‘catch up’ on what has to be known.
And then there’s the darker pursuit of actual character assassination, with full knowledge of what it’ll do to the person’s reputation, which of course, is part of the intent.
Who doesn’t want to feel just that bit more superior than the other person? And what an effective way to do that. Gossip behind their back, bring them down in the eyes of others, to elevate oneself through the process.
It’s said that gossip is ‘like taking poison, hoping someone else will die.’ It erodes the character; it harms the exposer of secrets more than it injures the gossipped-about.
The times I’ve gossiped, I’ve walked away feeling unclean, knowing it was the darker side of my character being fed: not an uplifting act.
“Gossip is when you hear something you like about someone you don’t.” Earl Wilson
I’d notice within the workplace that the ones who were the most gossipy were also the ones who seemed least happy. It was their way of venting their grievances as well as bringing others down in the process.
And I kept well away from them. They felt toxic to me, and I didn’t want to breathe in that air and have it affect me.
“Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” Don Miguel Ruiz
And that isn’t how I want to be in the world.
And we all make conscious or unconscious choices as to how we want to be and act in the world.
I want to be a contributor, not a denigrator. I want to lift others up, and always do as a general rule. Yes, I’ve slipped at times, but have realized very quickly afterwards it was harming me.
And thankfully, I sometimes learn from these experiences. I suspect I also looked at the gossipers and simply didn’t want to be like them. Negativity personified in my eyes.
One of the few things we have the power over is how we choose to act. And I have no problem being seen as an optimist these days. I want to have warm feelings for my fellow human and come from a place of love.
In the past, I may have deemed that too unworldly and naive, that the cynic sounded like they knew how the world ‘really worked’ and I didn’t. That was my esteem issues rising to the fore.
Today I stand tall knowing who I am and also who I don’t want to be.
How empowering and clean that feels!