In "Don't Change For Heaven's Sake" I wrote about common obstacles to a happier life. One major pitfall is what I call Caring Gossip. Most of us are aware of how just plain gossip affects others but we often forget that involving ourselves because we care about someone can be just as harmful.
I write about this now, because it seems to be a prevalent condition at this time - not just in our community but around the world.
Following is a quote for the book
I admit I am still working on the “caring gossip”. You know the kind where someone just wants to help a friend because of their troubles. They tell others in order to bring support into the situation….. It seems harder to stop someone who is not being malicious, but still I know if that person wanted me to know their “stuff” they would call me. You know it too. Why is another’s pain, loss, fear, lack so interesting?
This is not to say you will not reach out to someone in crisis. There is a difference between just talking about a situation and helping out someone in the community.
We do not know whether there is even a problem, yet if we think it would cause us pain or worry, we assume another must be affected in the same way. If we don't know the whole story, our questions or version of the story may be the bringer of pain or a change for the worse in the circumstances of others. This is usually done without ill intention on the part of the gossiper, but it does not make it any less harmful.
For the next 30 days try, just one day at a time to stop yourself when you find you are talking about another person's "stuff". If you feel another needs your help, or support go to them directly. If they share with you, keep it to yourself. If you are the confidante of a friend, keep it to yourself. Here is my suggestion from the book:
Try this – For 30 days, listen to your friends, but don’t pass it on. How has it changed your conversations; your self- respect? When the 30 days are up, make a choice to stop passing on gossip, then begin changing the subject or clarifying that you are not interested in what the neighbors are doing. (Be interested only if your neighbors choose to share with you.) See and feel the difference. One day at a time will lead you to stronger friendships.
Loyal friends are important if you are trying to create your own heaven here on earth. Treasure the trust of friendships.
Writing this has been a good reminder for me as well. Stronger communities, depend on stronger friendships. Let's all think before we speak, the world will be a better place.