31 Days of Soul Searching – Day 18 {Gossip}

Day 18

One of the most destructive forces in our lives are the unkind words that are said about others. The stories told, the lies that are spread.

{Gossip} has the power to ruin relationships and poison our hearts.

I have been on the unfortunate receiving end of the damage that gossip can do, and it is painful. Sadly, I have also perpetuated gossip, and may have caused that same pain to someone else.

It is the juicy stories that garner attention. Think of the magazine covers in the checkout lines at the grocery store. Intriguing right? I certainly scan those covers as I’m waiting in line. Who’s beach body got fat? Who’s cheating on who? Who’s scandal is playing out in the public eye?

It is poison, all of it. Reading it, talking about it, hearing it, feeling the repercussions of it… all bad.

Many years ago my husband and I began trying for children. We hoped and hoped, but every month it was the same disappointing truth. I was not pregnant. After some tests and doctors visits it became obvious that I would not likely be able to conceive and that rocked my world. I am private about things like that, so I didn’t share with many people what I was struggling with. My quiet nature was used against me.

A routine interaction with a hockey-mom from my step-sons’ team turned into one of the most painful moments in my life. We were just chatting about nothing, when she said to me “it’s too bad that you never wanted kids”. Slack-jawed, I mustered the gumption to ask why she said that. She said that she had been told that by someone we both knew. She was told that I didn’t like kids and that I never wanted them, which was quite possibly the same distance to the truth as the earth is to the sun. Far.

How could someone say that about me? How could someone decide why I did or didn’t do anything in my life? What right did they have to spread that story, or any other story for that matter? Ridiculous. Painful.

That experience was not the only one I have had with destructive gossip, and I am sure that it won’t be the last encounter I have with it either. People apparently have nothing better to do than make up stories about people and share them freely. It leaves you feeling as though you need to defend yourself or explain yourself to the masses about the most private decisions and battles in your life.

But when people are gathered around a table sipping coffee together, inevitably in the conversation, someone pipes up and says “have you heard about…”. It doesn’t matter what the dot dot dot represents, it is gossip. Truth or lie, we often don’t know. And it has occasionally come from my lips too.

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”                                          

                                                        ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I sure would rather be considered a great mind than a small mind, but as I said, I too have been guilty in the past of repeating something I wasn’t sure was true. How can we become great minds, committed to speaking words of truth and kindness and spreading light and love? We do that by deciding not to share gossip. Not to allow others to speak unkindly in our presence. And not to use our own words to perpetuate the problem.

Next time you are faced with the temptation to gossip, think of the times that gossip has caused you pain.  Then you can choose to either become part of the problem or part of the solution. I hope we will all choose the latter.

Join me in considering a few things before you speak about anyone in the future…

Is it true? 

Would it help or hurt them?

How would you feel if it was being said about you?

Those simple questions should guide you in the right direction. Think before you speak and listen with caution. Words have power and can cause pain. Don’t let those damaging words be yours.

 

*This is the 18th post in a 31 day series on Soul Searching. To follow the series from the beginning, simply click here and you will be directed to the introductory post which contains links to each day’s topic.

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