Gossip is a part of life. Most everyone has engaged in it. It starts early in life, usually in elementary school, but it gets a big boost in middle and high school. You'd hope that it would be left there as people grow up and move into adult life, but that's not the case. Go in any office setting and you will hear it, or just sit in a restaurant with you ears open. Better yet, go on Facebook and you’ll see every kind of people bashing imaginable.
In all actuality, it's easy to engage in gossip, and it takes a conscious effort to avoid it. We're naturally interested in what other people are doing, and we have opinions about it. That's a given.
The problem is the element of judgment, hate, and negativity that creeps in and gets expressed in ways that can be hurtful. Gossip is ultimately a betrayal to the person we're talking about and to ourselves. There's really nothing good about it. Here's how to stop it.
#1 Measure self-worth in terms of achievements.
When you are focused on outcomes and end results, and you measure your sense of worth and value in terms of your achievements and performance, you can easily see yourself as a failure when you don't succeed. Worse yet, you become the failure. That leaves you swinging between feeling really worthy when you achieve, and really unworthy when you don't.
Recently a client said to me that he wanted to do something "great" with his life. He's a young man at the beginning of his career, and he has aspirations to succeed. There's nothing wrong with that. It's a normal desire, but as we continued talking about it, I knew that more was going on. There was a strong sense of urgency, and even a little tinge of desperation.
As we investigated, it turned out that he feels quite insignificant, and the urgent desire to do something great was a desire to feel significant, and in turn feel worthy and loved. It wasn't really about accomplishment at all. It was about feeling worthwhile.
12 Practices to Strengthen Your Communication Style
With the amount of talking we all do, it would be a good idea to step back and assess how well you think people listen when you are talking. Do you feel heard? Do you think that others value what you have to say? Do you have a voice?
The answer may vary depending on the situation, or on the person you are speaking with. Certainly some people listen better than others, and the depth of a relationship can make a difference. Even so, the question still stands: Do you feel heard?
Whether you answer yes or no, here are some ideas and practices that can help.