I don’t remember much from my high school years, but I do remember a quote spoken by my high school English teacher. He quoted Eleanor Roosevelt.
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
Something within me trigger that day. Here I was, a high school sophomore, unable to think about a single time when I was not discussing “people”. At this point, I was very much so trapped in my “mean girl” phase of life, and I found it genuinely painful for me to dig for an idea that I had discussed recently. I guess I would discuss events occasionally. So there it was, y’all. I was an average-to-small mind. That realization sucked.
As I’ve aged, I’ve certainly grown to appreciate ideas and constructive discourse. But I still find myself trapped in the gossip. Sometimes, the gossip is instigated by others, and in low moments, it’s instigated by me. The common denominator between all scenarios is that I feel like garbage every time. I leave the conversation feeling icky. Usually, that ickiness has a mask of sadness over it. The words permeate my conscious. No Bueno.
Because of the effect that gossip has had and continues to have over my life, I set out to find the why. Why do we love talking crap about other people? Why do we love passive-aggressive behavior on social media? Why do we love The Real Housewives of New Jersey?
I’ll tell you why.
Insecurity. Connection. Control.
(For more specific information on this + the motives of mean people, check out my post here.)
Once I sat with the why, lots of insecurity rose to the surface. Stressful, unraveling events from my past started to come up. My past insecurities with my weight and appearance bubbled to the surface. My social anxieties proved to directly connect with my gossiping addiction. My craving for immediate control was exposed through my negative speak. And here I was, thinking that I had it all figured out. Whoops. Rewind.
Gossip has a detrimental impact on communities. It creates an environment of stress (@ work, within friend groups, in families, etc.). It can be permanently damaging to relationships that you may or may not be involved in. And for the cherry on top, you are always 100% guaranteed to be viewed differently by your friends, coworkers, family, and people you choose to surround yourself with. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants any of this nonsense, y’all.
So how do we stop it? How do we start to make the necessary steps to press the pause button on our gossip, whether we are the ones playing the tape or naw. Here are some helpful tools.
- Be mindful! If you sense that you are starting to run your mouth, you can always choose to stop. Only you can be in control of your words.
- Check that ego. A few weeks ago, Juan wrote about checking your ego at the door because it ain’t serving you, honey buns. And this is why. Ask yourself, what is bringing me to partake in this dialogue?
- Understand your motives. Are you helping someone by relaying this information or is this coming from a vindictive place? It’s all about intention.
- Walk away. You always have the ability to separate yourself from a conversation that doesn’t serve you. If you feel trapped in any one situation, try to sway the conversation in a positive direction.
- Understand that there are many ways to be happy, and that we all have the right to choose what that means for us. Your opinion is neither desired nor required in regard to someone’s life choices. If it aint’ affecting you, check your intention and ask why.
On a scale of Never to Every Day, where do you fall on the gossip train? Have you had any negative experiences with gossip, regardless of which end you were on? How’d that work out for ya? Let us know!