Gossip is essentially a tool to create and maintain relationships between individuals, with little importance given to the accuracy or quality of the actual information being passed.
We typically tend to partake in gossip with people that we know and like, somewhat trust or hold in high regard/admire.
Gossipers often use the excuse that a gossip session can make them feel better by relieving stress and negative thoughts. Some would argue that gossiping is a social tool that binds people together and forms connection.
But the truth is gossiping is a nasty, destructive, cruel and mean form of judgement that holds a very vague form of truth. It falsely connects us in our community and over time always results in a form of disconnection – you may even refer to this as karma.
Gossiping stems from jealousy and is a form of manipulation and control. People who gossip usually do so to gain what we call ‘power over’ another person. No good will ever come of gossip. It destroys trust and slanders the reputations of everyone involved.
Its impact is widespread weather it is occurring in an office environment or in your personal life. Not only are the impacts to the targeted person both mentally and emotionally damaging the effects of gossiping are felt by everyone involved.
People that partake in gossip will find interacting with the targeted person difficult and will no longer approach them with an open mind and find it difficult to trust them – nor will that they extend ‘generosity of spirit’ to them, which simply implies people are doing the very best that they can do.
The person who is the subject of gossiping will feel the effects much like a person who experiences bullying. They will be effected both emotionally and mentally. In some cases, this may even trigger anxiety and depression along with effecting their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Imagine being in the position targeted person – how does this make you feel? Confused, isolated, not good enough, shamed, fear, anxiety, failure, heartbroken, grief, betrayed, lied to, humiliated, I don’t belong, traumatic, victimised, alienated … what else?
As Don Miguel Ruiz says in his book, The Four Agreements; “Be Impeccable with Your Word”
What does this mean though … well to us it means speaking with integrity. Saying 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, compassion, respect, kindness and love.
If you are wanting to decrease your negative-talk, perhaps look to starting a private journaling. Writing it all down relieves stress and also aids in the process of self-reflection, which is an important component to self-improvement!
If you are a part of group that tinkers in gossip and you wish to stay in your integrity simply turn to putting up your boundaries of what is acceptable to you and what is not.
There is no kindness in the act of gossiping whether speaking it or being willing to listen to it or accepting it as truth.
Never take what someone says about another at face value. Gather data and check your facts.
For those that are the target of gossip, please don’t isolate yourself and keep it a secret. Find a listening ear of a good friend, family member or helping professional. I encourage you also to journal. All of this can help lessen the depression, anxiety and alienation that is experiences after being victimized by gossip. All of this will aid in increasing your self-esteem and worthiness.
Always remember, share your stories with people who have earned the right to hear them.
Be impeccable with your word and hold yourself and others to a state of grace. This a challenging and noble intention for living life!
Written by Jennifer Anderson