In this case, I define gossip as complaining to someone or a group about someone who is not physically present in the conversation. When we gossip, we intentionally expose our view of the weaknesses of the other person. But rarely do we consider that we are also unintentionally exposing our own weaknesses. What we gossip about is often more reflective of the incompletions we have in our own lives than the character we attempt to assign to the person we complain about.
The collective sum of our gossip intentions unfortunately becomes the dumping ground for humanity. Whether it be that we are intentionally trying to defame or hurt the other person, or whether we are simply operating from hurt, humanity ultimately bears the burden. This burden shapes our future. How many times have you felt you were the victim of gossip and what impact did this have on your life? Most likely it stopped you from operating at your full potential.
Festering incompletions are kept alive through gossip and become both the afflictions of and the burden to society. You could say our social ills are reflective of our collective incompletions. It doesn’t matter whether incompletions are real or imaginary, what matters is how long they remain incomplete. Why? Because collectively they impact our future.
What should you do?
The first step is to make a commitment to change our habits. If we are not careful, gossip becomes an acquired habit that is triggered by the “high” we feel from a state of “emotional incompletion.” Sharing the “noise” or the drama from this emotional state with others only serves to spread the “noise” into society. The best way to manage the habit of gossiping is best suggested by the simple advice: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. This must be translated also to: If you are not listening to something nice, don’t listen at all. This is said to suggest that we become an accomplice to the gossip habit by habitually engaging in listening to gossip.
Second, we must make a commitment to be whole and complete. Feel the pain once, then let it go so that you can become present to the NOW of your life versus the PAST of your life. The best way to end the gossip forever is to get complete with the person or persons you complain about. Talk frankly but respectfully with them and work out the differences with grace and dignity. Sharing your incompletion not as a complaint but as a way of forgiving and a way to bring peace to yourself and others. If you are not at peace, it is very likely that others involved aren’t either. The world is full of people who suffer from incompletions. Let’s start making more peace on earth. End your contribution to gossip. Don’t be a listener or a promoter.
What would it take to be complete or at peace with what is at the heart of your story? Consider the stories you have regarding people who are different from you. (i.e. race, economic status etc..) What would be possible for you, others, and the world if we all started confronting the incompletions in our lives rather than promoting them through our speech habit of gossip?