‘Gossip is when you have a malice of intent or mindless, third party conversation to someone about someone, something you haven’t said to that someone’ -Iyalna Vanzant
Growing up, my brothers and I were always told by our mother that our tummies fit a lot of food so it would also fit a lot of talk, so never gossip about anyone and if anybody tells you a secret, you keep it. We were told what the outcome of gossiping would be and we definitely didn’t want to be the cause of any trouble or hurt anyone’s feelings. Mum and dad taught us to love and respect all those around us. If family or friends ever came into our home and started to gossip dad would stop them in their tracks and say ‘not under my roof’. Looking back I am proud that my parents taught us this powerful lesson. I think that may be why I have never been betrayed by true friends and vice versa. I can honestly say when it comes to gossip, my life has been drama free.
However, growing up in the community I am from, I see lots of people, particularly women hurting each other. Whether you gossip to a friend or whether you shamefully bash someone on social media it is unnecessary bitchiness and what I believe is a reflection of ones self. Regardless of whether you are male or female (although women seem to betray each other more so).
When I catch up with friends I always feel great afterwards. I feel like we were able to discuss life issues, we were able to vent our stresses to one another and generally I just feel good. I will admit, there have been times were a topic will come up and I find myself gossiping. I know when something has turned into gossip because I get an ill feeling. A guilty feeling and a shameful one at that. I feel like I have betrayed the person I just gossiped about. So I stop. It is very important to me that I am mindful of it. I want to lead a life by example for my mother, father, my brothers, my children, my nieces and nephews and for my community.
We as humans gossip to try and divert attention away from our own lives because we are unhappy with an aspect of our lives. We try and seek validation from others because we are insecure about something within ourselves. We become mean when we hear something we don’t want to hear because some of us are envious or feel threatened by the person we just gossiped about. We gossip because we don’t value relationships and most importantly we gossip because we don’t value ourselves.
So I would like you to ask yourself if you gossip. If yes, why? How do you feel when you gossip? Do you feel empowered or ashamed? Furthermore, ask yourself when you find yourself gossiping or you are in a situation where gossip is occurring:
– Are you honouring yourself by gossiping?
– Are you honouring your relationship with the person being gossiped about?
– Are you envious or do you feel threatened by this person you are gossiping about?
– Are you making gossiping acceptable by being apart of it?
– Are you diverting attention away from your own issues by gossiping?
– Are you lying or shifting information around?
– Are you aware of the damage that spoken words can have?
If you have been or are guilty of gossiping, it is never too late to change. Try and focus on yourself, on your own life. Surround yourself with like-minded people and don’t compare yourself to anyone. You are your own person and only you can decide what you allow or don’t allow in your life.
If you have ever been betrayed by family or a friend, remember that whatever happened is a reflection of the person who betrayed you, not a reflection of yourself. Learn from the experience, accept the situation, forgive and let go. From here on learn to trust yourself, learn who you can really trust even if it is just one person. Share your story with people who have earned your time or who deserve your time. Think of who has really earned the right to listen. Make your life a gossip free zone.