Juicy, satisfying, celebrated gossip is…
one of the most divisive, verbally abusive, selfish things we practice.
Gossip is such a commonly practiced, unabashed custom in our society that we barely take notice of it anymore. It’s on our computers, phones, televisions, checkout stands – now the news even has gossip segments. There are countless shows on the air dedicated to just gossip – some of them award-winning! I mean, c’mon! To win awards for being nosy, for spreading rumors at others’ expense seems illogical! But then again, we aren’t that logical of a society, are we? We who have social outcries about bullying in schools?
Bullying is associated, for the most part, with words. We call it harassment (or mobbing when it’s done in groups). We don’t want our children to do it or experience it but we aren’t role-modeling. In fact, we’re putting our stamp of approval on it by training them how to do it.
Gossip isn’t necessarily based on lies, but we all know that the more a story is retold, the more it changes. So even gossip rooted in truth will, in most cases, morph into slander. I’ll ask you what I ask myself when I’m tempted to gossip, what is your intention behind the gossip? Is there a healthy reason to spread the info? When it arrives at your doorstep, do you have the empathy and self-control to stop it at you? Or does a lust for storytelling take over?
It’s one thing to be curious about another person’s life, it’s another if getting and sharing the information becomes a way of life, a habit, an obsession, harmful.
Shouldn’t our society’s current form of gossip be called harassment? Verbal stalking? Mobbing? The same things we call it when it done to and by children?
It’s one thing to hear about another person’s personals, it’s another to, with joy, share it with others in a slanderous way – intertwined with such judgment. We are a society that hates to be judged but are masters of gossip. The very thing that we don’t want to happen to us, we have a societal habit of doing.
Just because it’s become a common thing to do, doesn’t make it the right thing to do.
I know some people who believe they actually need to get the scoop and absolutely must share said scoop with others – as soon as possible! Seems very similar to an addiction to me. They’re DIS-eased when they can’t.
I have a theory. I think gossip is really curiosity gone to seed. Mm-hm,
Curiosity is supposed to be a healthy human character trait when it solves worthy problems.
But we humans have the tendency to get frustrated over not knowing details about meaningless things and business that is none of our business. We think we need to know, even when it doesn’t relate to us, and often, especially when it doesn’t relate to us.
Take celebrities for example. We justify some of our gossip about them by blaming them for being in the public eye at all, saying that it comes with the territory. Well it shouldn’t! We deceive ourselves into thinking that if we don’t know them it can’t hurt them.
Instead of respecting others’ privacy, or sympathizing, or empathizing with people’s behavior, people’s personalities, people’s situations, we point fingers and treat them like they’re not human beings.
We defend, protect and care more about puppies and movies and sports games than people! We are often an inconsiderate and apathetic people. People that judge. People that misjudge with little to no apologies.
And when we don’t know all the details about a situation, the whole truth, we tend to just make it up.
After all, it’s easier to fill in the gaps with assumptions and straight up lies and have a whole story than have an incomplete or nonexistent story and have to live with our painful curiosity.
We just don’t have the capacity to live peacefully with curiosity unfilled.
We often assume too quickly that gossip is true when it comes from a source we personally trust – and especially if it’s from a person who was directly involved in the story. But if all parties involved didn’t sit down with us and lay out all the facts, than we just strengthened the whisper campaign – to someone’s hurt. Someone always gets hurt when we gossip. Someone’s always being bullied.
But we consider knowing the scoop our right and not knowing the scoop a form of suffering! So we fill in the gaps with our own scoop when we don’t know the full scoop. We justify it, rationalize it, and finally conclude that our creation is now a complete and reliable enough story to be retold. We draw conclusions without proof. “We the people” do this – the same people who get called in for jury duty expecting to be impartial.
It has become socially UNacceptable NOT to gossip. We are so impatient, so nosy, so lustful for hearsay, that we have the nerve to write chapters and endings to others’ life scripts and then repeat it to others – deciding that our version of their story is forever true.
So true in fact, that if the real truth is revealed, and it contradicts our own manufactured “truth”, we decide that their truth, about their life, is wrong!
I mean, we didn’t have anything to do with the creation of it so it must be wrong.
On the other hand, if the real truth revealed agrees, even in part, to our own manufactured truth, then it confirms our “curious tendencies”, and to continue assuming, concluding and gossiping.
We’ve become okay with lies, okay with being MIS and DISinformed but not okay with being UNinformed.
Why is it torture to not have all the details? To not be informed about a situation that is none of our business? Why?
Maybe because it would give us too much time to look at our own lives or maybe it would prove that we are not in control. And in this narcissistic society, that’s just not something we commonly accept.
One of my goals is to not gossip, and to either nip it in the bud or turn away from it when I hear it. Also, to defend those being talked about, and discern when it is gossip because sometimes, it is so subtle, right?
Why do I not want to gossip? Because I know, just like you do, that just because we’re adults doesn’t mean that words lose their power. It has been proven words shape us. They even shape our surroundings. Words can be poison or fruit, darts or salve, daggers or catalysts to recovery. They have literally created life and encouraged people to take their own lives.
Words can build up, tear down, heal wounds or make them – can breed hope, healing, encouragement, love…
Death and life are in the power of the tongue and whichever we indulge in, we’ll eventually eat the fruit of.
So I choose life and encourage you to do the same.
I love you and speak well of you!
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