Take The Spotlight Off Gossip

Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people. —Socrates

I have to remind myself constantly that gossip is inevitable. What I mean by that is there will always be people who talk about others. I’ve seen families, friends, and coworkers belittled and the divisive aftermath.

For me it started in school – 3rd grade from what I can recall. That was the age when we began to compare ourselves to others. I was talked about, even bullied for a time when particular aspects of my appearance weren’t viewed as acceptable in terms of society’s idea of physical beauty. For that reason, I didn’t enjoy school. It gave me an overwhelming sense of anxiety and self-doubt, that at times made it difficult to endure “normal” day-to-day social interactions. Yet, since I learned school was not something I could avoid permanently, I taught myself how fit in, how to be accepted, and ultimately  how to be liked.

By high school, I was able to go to school without misery. Instead of being considered an outcast or the subject of gossip, I became part of the gossip factory. I came to believe that participating in gossip made me normal. But in retrospect, I see that all I was doing was devaluing others who were different. Gossip is an indirect way to feel better about yourself, while putting others down.

I gossiped, partly as a defense mechanism, hoping I would then not be talked about negatively. I didn’t want to risk losing my recent acceptance into the “in crowd”. I thought it would be satisfying to be liked but all it made me was a phony or poser, who was in no way genuine. I associated with people who were deceiving and manipulative; none of whom I talk to today.

Over the years, I’ve labeled myself a victim; someone that had been mistreated. Believing this somehow made it seem that what I had done was ok…no big deal, everyone does it.

It’s said that sometimes after a traumatic accident people take stock of their life and often develop a different outlook. Well that’s how I would explain my experience. Shortly after my 22nd birthday life began to change for me. It was as if I was seeing myself from an alternative perspective, one that made me feel like an actor in a play. I had let the dramas in my life run the show. It’s time for me to stop feeling like a victim.

The energy that is invested in gossip can be used to focus on self-development instead. Now in time, I can maintain a good and humble spirit.

11 thoughts on “Take The Spotlight Off Gossip”

  1. I always saw myself as insular, and thought it a weakness, now I realise it’s a strength. I don’t need to show my emotions on my sleeve. I can make people believe I’m happy when I’m not and eventually I begin to feel happy by making them smile.

    1. At the end of the day, people who gossip don’t want to deal with their own insecurities and emotions. Gossiping gives them an escape similar to alcohol and drugs and does not solve the problem but merely soothes the pain for an instant but causes more pain and more harm in the long term.

  2. This is also a good reminder of that when you are the subject of gossip, it’s usually to make those people feel less shitty about themselves. Great point. 🙂

  3. Shoot! I think I was gossiping just last night with family. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into that trap. Thanks for reminding me to just say “no!”

  4. Your post hit a nerve. It wasn’t until college that I began to recognize what damage gossip does not only to the person talked about but to me. I don’t feel good when I gossip. It took me a long time to realize that.

  5. I wondered who it was who said that about great minds – i saw a sign of it recently, and it really stuck with me. I hope you’re not being too hard on yourself – i can relate to being bullied at home and school, and responding to that by doing things with/to others i’m not proud of. It’s all experience of growing up, and at least we can say we’ve woke up to the pitfalls of gossip. When i was reading about Buddhism recently i wondered why avoiding idle gossip in pursuit of “right speech” was so important – i mean, abusing someone verbally is obviously not cool, but gossiping in “private” didn’t seem like such a big deal. But somewhere i read the idea to consider someone you know who, as we say, “would never have a bad word to say about anyone”. Would you confide in someone like that? Sure. But a gossip? Not so much. So apart from gossip belittling others, the absence of gossip in a culture/society also creates a system of trust in its members, thereby facilitating sharing, honesty, candour – all that good stuff!

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