Give Gossip the Boot; Plus, What You Can Do Instead
People gossip for a variety of reasons. And as much as we might deny it – gossiping is something we’ve all been guilty of at some time or another.
But what is it that makes the urge to gossip so irresistible? The thing about gossip is that it is rarely positive; it usually involves the spreading of ‘secret’ information, judging the behavior or choices of another individual. It is always shared behind the back of the person in question.
As said, there are many reasons why people may feel the urge to gossip about another person – even those they care about. Arguably the biggest reason is that gossiping can make you feel as though you are somehow doing better than the person being discussed.
It gives people the false illusion of having the moral high ground. Because let’s face it, when you’re discussing the shortcomings of another person it becomes oh-so-easy to forget your own.
But as much as we are all guilty of a bit of gossip, I’m sure that everybody can agree on one thing – it doesn’t feel very nice.
It doesn’t feel nice to be gossiped about, but it can often feel far worse to be the one who has gossiped. And no one should have to walk around carrying that kind of shame on a regular basis.
So what can we all do?
Well, here are 5 easy alternatives to help everyone gradually give gossip the boot:
1. Go straight to the source.
Got a problem with the choices or behavior of another person? Then let them know! It’s always better to go straight to the person with whom you’re unhappy with, rather than talk about them behind their back. It should help you to clear up the problem and find a resolution, without hurting anyone’s feelings in the process.
Has someone’s words or actions got you in a spin? When someone’s left you feeling hurt, angry or even frustrated – don’t vent to anyone who will listen – write it down instead. The act of putting pen to paper can be extremely cathartic and gives you the chance to air your emotions, without the guilt or aftermath of telling people things you shouldn’t.
When we are made uncomfortable by something or someone, our first reaction will usually be to try and give away our discomfort – which is why many people turn to gossiping when they feel upset. However, have you ever thought to try and sit with your discomfort for a while? Take a few moments to let it settle, examine the discomfort and then let it disperse of its own accord? Meditation is perfect for this – so give it a try.
An obvious one maybe, but too many people fall into the act of gossiping just because they forget to think before they act. It is only after, once they’ve had the chance to put themselves in the shoes of the other person that feelings of guilt creep in.
To prevent this, why not start using your empathy skills sooner rather than later? Before you go to gossip, take a moment to imagine how you’d feel if the shoe was on the other foot – if you were on the receiving end of the gossip?
Finally, too many people fail to take responsibility for their wrongdoings when gossiping. People will try to find reasons for gossiping in the first place, using excuses such as ‘I was worried about them…I thought it was their right to know…they were in the wrong…’ but whatever way you look at it, gossip is gossip.
So the most important thing that you can do is practice greater accountability for your choices and actions. Do this and you’ll be much less likely to gossip in the first place.
The truth is, when we judge others, the only person we are usually judging is ourselves.
So the next time you notice yourself engaging in gossipy acts, stop and notice what you’re doing. Ask yourself how the words you were about to use may reflect on your own character. And turn to one of the above alternatives, to keep that positive energy flowing and to spare yourself that icky feeling that gossiping can create. And then, give gossip the boot.
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It can be hard to stay away from the drama and gossip, but once you do it can really make a positive impact on your life.
One of the first steps you can take is to learn how to clear negativity from your life.
If you can identify any limiting beliefs you have and surround yourself with positive people, this can really help you to stay positive in life.
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