It goes without saying that bad news travels like wildfire and good news spreads like molasses in Winter. Criticism, hurtful sarcasm, rumours and useless gossip is like a match struck on dried tinder; they all find their way in our daily lives, whether we ourselves indulge in them or entertain others who do.
I find myself religiously having to excuse myself from conversations and have on more than one occasion disassociated myself from people who pride themselves in mindless, meaningless chatter. We have a moral responsibility to accept the implications of our words just as we do the implications of our actions, yet many people let their tongues run wild without giving a second thought as to hurting or diminishing the feelings of others. People choose their dinner more intently than they choose their words. They care more about what goes into their mouths than what comes out. Is that that they lay preference to their palate over their tongue? Which ever the case maybe, gossip seems to be the lifeline of some people. They can’t live with out it.
As if the world is not in shortage of mindfulness as it stands, the fact remains that what you say about and to others can not only hurt feelings but also tarnish reputations, damage relationships and affect the self-esteem and the way that person is treated by others. I recently did an exercise and suggest you try it as well. Take note of your words and actions, see how long you can go without speaking a negative word to or about someone. See how you measure up. While you’re at it, take note of the negative gossip you indulge in on a daily basis, I guarantee you’d be surprised at the amount of time you consciously waste in water cooler chit chatter.
It’s your ethical responsibility to be fair, mindful and respectful when speaking about others. Always choose your words wisely and carefully when relaying someone else’s story or your own spin-off story. Think about how you would feel if someone spoke about you that way you were speaking about them. This brings it all into perspective, doesn’t it? The rule of thumb is, which I know can be difficult, “if you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” This had left me biting my tongue on more than one occasions.
©Etta D. Richards