It’s been said that it takes five positive things to counteract one negative.
I wanted to try to find a way to talk about negative gossip in an objective sort of way because we’ve all been involved in it, or been the object of it at one time or another. But there comes a time when we have to really take a close look at what we’re doing and how it’s affecting others. For me I figured out probably way later in life than I should have how hurtful negative gossip is and that I didn’t want to be involved in it and then really took steps to try to make sure that I was not involved in spreading it myself and to be careful who and what I was listening to. Its not an easy thing to break from and I’m certainly still working on it. Like many I also try to make sure that if I have heard any little bits of negativity, to try to keep myself as neutral as possible towards that person.
Understandably though that’s not always a possibility, because when someone tells us negative things about others, that information sort of programs our minds to actually look for those negative things in them. Even if we don’t know the person being talked about, when we do meet them, our brains keep looking for and almost start poking and prodding about trying to uncover those negative things that we’ve been told to believe are there. And of course they can sense that.
We can usually tell when other people are acting negatively towards us and so can others. Even if no one actually says things to their face, people can sense that they’re being negatively gossiped about and that their reputations are being damaged. And they may even start acting negatively in turn because that’s the vibe they’re getting, so that’s what they start giving back. So no matter how good they are, and they may really be wonderfully strong, loving and courageous people, but we’ll never know it, or will never be able to acknowledge it, because of that one bit of programming, that gossip that we heard that told our minds that this person was not a good person.
When those people said those negative things about them they stole that person’s reputation in our minds. The Talmud even refers to it as a murder, because it’s kind of a death when someone’s reputation dies.
What can we do?
1. First of all we can take the stand that we want to do to others what we would want done to us. If we don’t want other people to gossip about us then we shouldn’t gossip about others.
2. Don’t listen to gossip. When people start talking negatively about somebody even if it’s someone that you don’t like, just tell them that you’re not into that. That you don’t want to listen to that kind of thing and that you would really rather talk about something else.
3. Look for the good in others. There’s so many things that make a person. Even if there are things you don’t like about someone there are all sorts of good things about them too. So if you’re gonna program how others think, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to spread loving kindness and positive thoughts about others?
4. Find better friends. Some people really are into the power of gossip and if you have friends like this, then ask yourself, if you really want to be around someone like that? Because you know that they’re going to gossip about you too. We do want to look for friends who are discreet, who are honorable, and have integrity and courage, and who won’t engage in gossiping about you or others.
Most of the people around us are just trying to do their best to be good people everyday, just like we are . We all have things that we’re afraid of, we all have things that we do well, and things that we don’t do at all well. We’re all a little bit weird and a little bit brilliant, so just try to do the best that you can and look for the best in others too.