Coaches Corner: You have the power to build up or tear down
February 22, 2023
Gossip...according to the Oxford dictionary, is informal talk or stories about other people's private lives that may be unkind or not true. Webster's dictionary defines gossip as "casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people."
We have all experienced a shared story, a side comment, or a roll of the eyes in gossip. There is gossip in homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and churches, to name a few.
Words used for gossip are incredibly toxic. All of the words we use have the power to build someone up or tear someone down. We may be fascinated with fiction, which is why tabloids are so famous and are located at the checkout stands in grocery stores. While waiting, you glance or pick up the magazine because you are drawn to the headlines.
Many years ago, I was on a trip, and the whole crew went to dinner on our layover. One particular person on the trip had an insatiable desire to gossip about others. During the conversation, I asked, "how do you know that that is true?" The person replied, "I only gossip the truth!" I had to step back and think about what this person had just said about gossip. Not only was the gossip embarrassing to the person being talked about, but some details had the potential to damage their reputation.
Gossip is never uplifting or encouraging, and we must realize that the presumed story is always wrong, no matter the current situation. Gossip is one of those things that is so easy to justify, especially if we have been hurt.
As I was sharing with someone a few days ago about this particular subject, she told me that it is in our nature to talk about others. Yes, I would have to agree...but why is that the case? Why do we, as humans, desire to talk about another person? Perhaps, we are more interested in another person's life other than our own.
We have all been guilty of participating in gossip and may have even gossiped about someone. Over the years, I have learned some hard lessons from gossip.
I work in an environment where there is much gossip and even live in a neighborhood where there is toxic talk, and some of that has affected both my husband and me personally. Is it sometimes easier or less painful to participate and keep the gossip train going in gossiping about the person that may be talking about you? But that keeps the gossip train on the tracks and won't solve anything. The toxic train must be derailed. You may be asking yourself, "how do I do that?"
To fend off gossip, we must first start with ourselves. If you desire to guard yourself against hearsay, and harmful words, set your intention daily and tell yourself today that you will build others up, not tear them down. Speak only what's necessary for the moment.
Could you seek out those people whom others have talked about, invite them to coffee, and have a conversation with them? It may surprise you just how much they need a real human connection.
Connect with like-minded people, ask questions, and be less focused on yourself and more about them. Sometimes, people gossiping about others have never really taken the time or have the desire to know the person they are talking about.
Season your words with grace, and that will help guard against spreading gossip. Ensure your words bring life and not harm or destruction to another person.
Remember, those that gossip to you will also talk about you.
Politely remove yourself from the conversation...even if you are listening to the gossip, you are participating. Gossipers need an audience, don't be their audience. Words can be deceptive... they can fool us into thinking we are justified.
In my industry, before opening or closing an aircraft door, we must always stop, think and locate to prevent danger. Stop, think, and ask yourself if what you are saying or hearing is serving someone in their best interest.
"Those who are busy discussing your life are probably not happy about theirs." ~ Unknown