I was standing in line behind young girl at the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta, GA recently , and I noticed what was on the back of her t-shirt: “Pretty is as pretty does. My Mama said, don’t mess up cute by acting ugly”. I thought what a powerful statement for young girls to embrace as it opens the door to clear communication and integrity in their lives. When you communicate clearly and honestly, you have a greater chance of receiving what you desire and you deepen your relationships. Otherwise, gossip keeps you skating on the surface of relationships. And that’s no fun nor is it fulfilling!
When I find myself listening to someone talk about another person and the conversation moves into the gossip realm I find myself 1) defending the person being gossiped about 2) feeling very uncomfortable 3) wanting to exit the conversation fast. Gossip is a passive form problem solving as well as a false ego booster.
Gossip is about creating a false sense of power over someone else and it can point towards insecurities, fears, and wounds. Gossip is a teacher. It points out where your growing edge is. And, it’s like any other addiction that feeds the ego, you’ll need more and more as it will never fill you up. It doesn’t stick. Inner integrity sticks.
If someone is gossiping to you about someone else, you can be assured they will talk about you at some point. So why not stand in your inner integrity and stop gossip in it’s tracks? Here are some ways to handle gossip mongers:
1) Exit the conversation, change the subject.
2) Make a suggestion to the gossiper that they take their issues to the person they are gossiping about. That is clear, truthful communication and it gets you out of a messy triangular converstion.
3) The most direct approach: tell the gossiper you don’t feel comfortable discussing someone else without them being present. You take the chance they will get angry with you, because you are not colluding with them. However you will lose an aquaintance not a real friend. A real friend will share their feelings about what you said and they will stick with you to work it out. An aquaintance won’t.
4) If you’re the gossiper, we’ve all done it if we’re honest, catch yourself, name it outloud and correct your behavior. Then, ask yourself why am I not speaking with the person I’m gossiping about directly? Am I trying to gain validation for myself? Am I jealous of someone?
You’ll keep your inner integrity intact and feel good right down to your soul.
Don’t mess up your cute!