a detox for the soul

A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part Two

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How To Stop Engaging With Gossip

 

This is always a tricky one and if I’m honest I was better at this when I was younger than now, often not wanting to speak up for fear it might cause conflict. The truth is I think I’ve just lost sight of how important it is not to engage with gossip, even if I might do so in a passive way. I have to admit I’m disappointed in myself for doing so and I’ll be making a special effort to adopt the following strategies myself.

 

Change The Subject

 

This one might be obvious but in the heat of the moment it can feel quite difficult to do, especially when the conversation is in full swing. Try thinking of something fun or positive to talk about, like an upcoming event or even a holiday another might have planned.

 

Say Something Positive About The Person

 

This is often the best way to communicate that you are not comfortable with the direction of the conversation without having to say so directly – a good strategy to have in your bag! Think of something positive about the person in question and if you can’t, think about something compassionate you could say like ‘bless her, she might be going through a really tough time right now that we just don’t know about’.

 

Confront Gossip Politely But Assertively

 

This is of course the most courageous thing to do, though not everyone may feel able to act on this one, especially in larger groups. If you would like to know more about assertive communication please read my article titled ‘Assertiveness; A Journey Worth Taking’.

 

Point Out Missing Information

 

If you see that not everything is being taken into consideration or there is missing information in someone’s gossip, so long as you don’t reveal any secrets, point it out – it may just be the nudge they need to stop gossiping around you.

 

How To Protect Yourself Against Gossip

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A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part One

 

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Do you consider yourself a gossip? Before I sat down to write this series I thought gossip was spreading malicious rumors or trying to discredit someone in the eyes of others and, if you had asked me a month ago whether I was a gossip, I would have said a flat out no.

 

The truth is sometimes I do gossip. Sometimes I am hurt and endlessly find fault with those who I believe have caused the situation to my friends; sometimes I make judgments about others in conversation, without fully knowing their story. Sometimes, when I am very hurt, I even resort to labeling them when describing them to others.

 

I’m completely ashamed to admit this of course, but in order to do something about it, I first had to acknowledge the issue existed.

 

Naturally, in time I forgive them, or realize I don’t know the full story, but by then the damage has already been done, leaving a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

 

I don’t want to be that person anymore, regardless of how I’ve been treated and neither do I ever want to jump to conclusions – after all, everyone is on their own journey and is doing the best they can with what experience and resources they have.

 

So this series is as much about my own journey as it is yours. Think of it as a detox for the soul – a lighter, happier way to live.

 

Why We Gossip: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly  

 

Whilst most of us are aware just how poisonous malicious rumors and gossip can be, very few of us are aware we gossip relatively regularly, so ingrained it is in our culture. Have you ever read a Hollywood magazine about A-Lister news? Did you share with a mutual friend that you thought one of your close friends was making a mistake? Then you have likely engaged in gossip. So why do we do it?

 

The Good (ish)

 

In truth there really isn’t any good kind of gossip, however there are understandable psychological reasons why we may be drawn to gossip.

 

The most common reason is that it is a subconscious way of bonding with others. In between the lines you are communicating to those you gossip with that they are more important to you than those you are gossiping about.

 

The Bad

 

Another common psychological reason we are driven to gossip is that it makes us feel important when we know information others don’t, in part elevating our unspoken status.

 

In some cases it might even be a form of projection. The key to know whether you might be gossiping about others as a form of projection is when your reaction to certain behavior is disproportionate.

 

For example, why does it bother you so much that someone who is single and you barely know, slept with two guys in the same week? Could it be that you are suppressing feelings about your own sexuality out of misplaced shame and guilt?

 

The Ugly

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