Have you ever tried not gossiping for a whole week?
I bet it was a very silent week….
Do you often feel yourself getting sucked in into a ‘good juicy story’ about someone?
Do you secretly feel good about yourself when you hear of someone else slipping up?
Why is it that we all tend to gossip all the time? Do we really like this? What good does it actually do to anyone?
Have you ever not engaged in gossiping long enough, so that you actually have felt the difference in your heart and mind?
Let’s take a closer look.
What is it about gossiping? Why do people gossip?
When we’re gossiping, it feels as if we’re establishing a special bond, a special connection with the person we’re talking to. We seem to agree on something, we feel that we’re understanding what the other person is saying, we feel important and privileged because the other person is ‘trusting us’ with this information, we feel so good about ourselves because what we’re talking about is happening to someone else and …luckily not to us. BUT…….
Is this really true? Do we really feel good? Or what is the real reason we feel ‘good’ while gossiping?
Maybe we feel good about the misfortune of others because we then feel it’s okay when one day, we make that same mistake?
Maybe we feel we’re not perfect enough? Is this why, we then like it when someone else slips up too?
Maybe we feel special because someone chooses us to talk to?
Does it really make us feel good at the end of the day, or does it do just the opposite? Maybe we feel suspicious about people because of it, as maybe one day they’ll be gossiping about us too.
What is the price we’re paying for that moment of feeling ‘good’, of feeling ‘superior’?
When we feel good about the misfortune of another person, what we’re actually saying is: ‘It’s bad to make a mistake’, ‘You’re a failure when something derails in your life.’ Most of us hold on to the belief that you need to succeed in life in terms of having a perfect career, a perfect marriage, a perfect body, perfect children, the coolest hobbies, …. The more we nurture and feed this belief, aka gossiping when we see someone not being able to tick off all of the above boxes, the more we create the perfect circumstances for being unhappy in life. The higher we set the standards for everyone, the higher we need to climb to stay above “other people’s failures”. This is why we pay a very high price when we’re gossiping. We just can’t climb high enough, as nobody is without flaws and that is okay, that is normal, that is being human. But for some reason most of us are horrified by this reality. We feel we’re not good enough. We chastise ourselves for our mistakes. We are harsh on ourselves and we project this frustration onto everyone around us. We think gossiping will relieve us from feeling bad because we’re not perfect. But the sooner we accept imperfections in ourself and in others, the sooner we’ll finally be able to enjoy life to the fullest.
How can we put a stop to this vile, addictive, bad habit of gossiping?
Make a promise to yourself that whenever you catch yourself engaging in gossip, you’ll just stop! Even mid-sentence, just stop. Refuse to go any further in this negative, ‘putting-down’ behavior. You can even talk about it with your spouse or friends, and say that you want to stop this energy draining habit. See how they feel about quitting the gossip habit. But remember, it’s your choice, you can’t make anyone join you if they don’t want to. What you can do however, is first of all, not gossiping yourself, and also, not joining others in the behavior you no longer want for yourself anymore.
What benefits are there in ‘not trash talking’, in ‘not putting others down’?
Not only is it the decent thing to do, you’ll also have nicer encounters, warmer conversations. You’ll feel more relaxed as you are okay with what is happening around you. You do not need to comment, correct, know better anymore, you can just let everyone be. Suddenly the world seems more beautiful. Really it does. Try it and feel it for yourself. You’ll be more at ease with yourself as you do not need to transcend other people’s actions anymore. You now do not judge anymore. All is good. Whatever people choose to be or do, it’s okay. You can finally just be. The world feels more peaceful as you do not engage in that negativity anymore. You realize you, and others, are enough. You accept, respect and love yourself and others. All this results in feeling better, in feeling more energetic, happier, healthier, in experiencing pure bliss. It’s now easy to be grateful for all that is present in your life because you accept life as it comes, people as they are. As I’ve written many times* before: ‘It’s not happy people who are grateful, it’s grateful people who are happy.’
Is it doable to stop gossiping?
Is it easy?
Not at all. It’s like every habit you want to change. It takes commitment, it takes time. You have to consciously remind yourself every day that you want to stop gossiping. You have to, as you do in wanting to change any habits**, know why you want it. Then you have to repeat your new behavior time after time, every day, until you’ve developed a new habit: the habit of no more gossiping, the habit of only positive, constructive and respectful talking.
Is it worth it?
Absolutely!! Once you live your life with this new habit, you’ll feel yourself being a new person. You’ll start feeling more and more content in life, more compassionate, more tolerant. You’ll also feel negative people disappearing from your life as they can’t stand being around someone who refuses to engage in their trash talking. Give it some time. Once you have committed yourself to be a non-gossiping person for some time, you’ll notice nothing but benefits. First, you’ll feel a bit like treading new waters as it feels with changing any old habits. Most of us have been doing and hearing it all of our lives, so it feels familiar. But once you are accustomed to not gossiping, you’ll feel your whole body getting more and more relaxed. You’ll sleep better, you’ll feel more energized, you’ll feel healthier. Life ‘suddenly’ feels easier. This finally results in feeling comfortable with life, in being a happy person, a person content and happy with how things work out in life, a person content and happy with the people around him/her, a person happy and content with his/her own flaws, a person who enjoys life with all its imperfections.
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*Medium articles by Katrien Degraeve
**”The Trouble is, It’s All up to You. The Good Thing is, it’s All up to You.” Article by Katrien Degraeve