What is the talk of small minds?
by J.D. Hilton Day 62
“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.” ~Jewish Proverb
Webster’s Dictionary defines gossip as “often malicious talk; a person who spreads sensational or intimate facts.”
Avoid Gossip At All Costs
All gossip is bad, even the casual gossip about not so important issues. However, when people spread gossip with malice, let’s say mostly because they just don’t like the person they are gossiping about and would do anything to see them ruined, that is when gossip can have a totally devastating effect on the victim.
When people gossip not just to pass the information, but to actually hurt somebody, they will continue to harp on the information and even make up more information to accomplish their goal.
I think people like that, even if they have been the source of some gossip at one point or another themselves and know how it feels, will not cease until their mission is accomplished.
Inferiority leads to gossip
Now, if gossip is sure to end up hurting someone or several individuals, then, what motivates people to gossip?
Sometimes people do it out of spite, just because they can. Other times people gossip because they feel they will benefit from its end result, such as possibly looking better in front of the boss in a working situation or a romantic interest.
But the true, deep-rooted reason, and psychological studies have proven it, is the feeling of superiority that results from such vicious spreading of information. The person feels superior not only because they have information to offer that the other person does not have. We all know that knowledge is power, but also by gossiping about someone else, the gossiper feel like they are raising themselves up by putting others down.
People will gossip about things that actually happened, even though not talking about it would be beneficial for everyone involved. They will gossip about things that happened and will stretch it some to make it more “juicy” and, therefore, cause more of an impact when disclosed.
Ultimately, people will gossip about something completely untrue, however, making up such a story causes such a rush on the gossiper because of the power trip they have just experienced, that they can’t contain themselves and just “spit it out.”
Painful Truth About Gossip
We have all fallen victim to rumors and gossip at one time or another in our lives, but anybody who has been a victim of some ill-founded gossip which has resulted in their image, reputation, and even their lives being torn apart, know that the effects of wicked gossip are sometimes irreparable, or at least they seem to be.
Picking up the pieces after such an attack is not easy and quite painful. Anybody who has lived in the “public eye” such as Hollywood stars, public figures, political and non-political, have felt the wrath of gossip at some point. Sadly, though, for some reason the public goes on assuming that these people just “let it slide” and don’t let the gossip affect them.
When in fact, in reality the gossip affects them as anyone else, eventually taking a toll in their lives. It is much easier to accuse, point fingers and have the populace believe you, than when you are the accused and you are trying to defend yourself. Nevertheless, for some reason people rather believe the erroneous “facts” in the gossip than believe the, often times, innocent who is the focus of the gossip.
So what is so “bad” about gossip? What is it that people are unaware of or don’t acknowledge about gossiping that allows them to continually participate in it? Consider these:
1 – Gossiping is Destructive
Gossip damages a person’s social standing. Think about it: people don’t talk secretly about the good things they see or hear about other people.
“Pssst. Did you hear the story about John? Apparently he spends his afternoons and weekends building shelters for the poor.”
Instead you get the stories that you experience in even the so-called reputable media, and the whispered allegations that go so long unchallenged that they become accepted “truths”.
Gossip spreads unsubstantiated stories about a person that damages how that person is regarded in their community, and how someone is regarded in their community is directly related to how much they are trusted. Trust is the measure of a person’s value in society which impacts who we are able to associate with, what positions we are allowed to hold, and yes how much money we are able to earn.
2 – Gossiping is Inherently Unjust
Do you really need an explanation? No one is perfect, and how would you feel if people were discussing the most private details about your life, especially when many of these details are false. There are legal consequences to gossiping yet it is so prevalent that even the rich and famous resort to charges of slander and libel only in the most extreme cases. Fighting gossip often serves to fan the flames so it is often a better strategy to ignore it.
3 – Gossiping Perpetuates a Culture of Gossip
We are social animals and gossip can only exist in a social environment. Your speaking and listening to gossip signals to those that trust you that you approve of gossiping. This means they will bring gossip to you as well as spread gossip to those that trust them. This is why many magazines, newspapers, TV and radio shows exist: because YOU listen to and spread gossip.
Remember this, “Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.” (unknown)
4 – You Rob the World of Your Very Valuable Help
There are only 24 hours in a day and countless problems that need to be solved for your own life, your family, your communities and your world. Every second you spend gossiping (which includes listening to gossip) robs the world of your capacity to help make the world a better place.
5 – You Damage Yourself with Gossip
What does gossip say about you? Every time you participate in gossip by either speaking or listening to it you advertise to the world and particularly to those that trust you, that you believe what others tell you on face value and that you not only have no regard for the people you are gossiping about , but you have no regard for the truth .
You signal to the world that you are a destroyer.
If you can’t see this, ask yourself “What is my purpose of sharing this ‘information’ about someone”? Is it to have people think more of this person (who the ‘information’ is about), or is it so that people will think less of them?” Then ask yourself “Why do I want to bring this person down?” This could lead to some real insight into your beliefs about people (maybe certain types of people) and the world.
6 – You’ll Suffer from Gossip When It’s Your Turn
There is an amazing truth to the Golden Rule (Do unto others …./What goes around comes …/As you sow ….), and yet you may find that this is one of the few cases where it does not apply. People will gossip about you even if you don’t engage in the practice yourself.
“What’s so” about the world is that people gossip, and if they aren’t gossiping about you, it’s only because they haven’t noticed you yet. In fact the bigger the game you play, the more you are up to something, the more visible you become the more people will gossip about you.
So if you can’t stop being gossiped about, why should you care about gossiping?
Well there are five reasons above this one, and another is that if you don’t gossip you’ll be removed or apart from it (gossip) such that when it’s your turn – and I pray that you are bold and audacious enough to have your turn in the headlines – you won’t be as affected; you either won’t suffer at all, or you’ll suffer less.