Thursday, August 25, 2016

11 ways to say "No" to gossip

Let’s get to the point. Gossip is woven into the fabric of our lives, whether we like it or not. We attract it, indulge in it, abhor it. It follows us around as we make our way around the office (if you have gossipers there); peeps out from across the wall, when we live in tightly-knit communities with glass houses and time spooling out in luxurious swirls. It can follow us around like a faithful puppy, hold us captive like a dress two sizes small, remind us how painful it can sometimes be, like a shoe that's too tight.

We get chastised for indulging in gossip, or even for attracting it. And if you let it, it can tie you up in knots, making you flounder with self-doubt at every step. So what do you do, when the tentacles of gossip promise to hold you in its cold embrace? Whatever you do, don't spend too much of your precious time getting a headache or feeling desperately low. 

Here’s what I do when gossip comes calling:

1. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild, precious life?” – Mary Oliver. Write this and put it up around the house. It’s true isn’t it, that the time we have on earth is precious and it makes absolutely no sense frittering it away, fretting about what others think of us or expect out of us.

2. Spread joy. Like anyone, I often get bothered when a scrap of gossip is thrown my way. But I do understand that the gossip-creators may get some sort of happiness from their flirtation with negativity. So if this spreads joy in someone’s life, if gossiping about me gives someone something to do, as worthless as it may be, then so be it. As long as they are happy and I am happy, that’s all that really matters.

3. Stay inspired. In my work as a journalist, I often meet people who are making a change in this society, by working towards a cause or helping others. It’s amazing what some people do with their time. We all have 24 hours, but while some spend it gossiping or worrying too much about what others say, there are those who are making a huge difference in this world. And I realize that I have a choice about what I can do with my time, and I graciously choose the latter.

4. Be grateful. I have so much of gratitude for what I have – my family, my talents and creativity, a certain sense of grounding and spirituality. I would be a fool to let any of this get tarnished because of what others expect or talk about me.

5. Acknowledge the suffering in the world. While I do not enjoy reading newspapers full of calamity reports, I am well aware of the suffering that is a daily part of this world and the lives of fellow humans. Just this acknowledgement can put things in perspective and I understand how self-created issues like gossip are.

6. You are the boss of you. I’m known to be a bit of a rebel, but really, I don’t believe that anything negative that anyone says about me, should make me change my ways (unless it’s harmful). Others’ opinions are just that – opinions and that’s where I like to keep them, at an arm’s distance.

7. What others think of you is none of your business. I mean really, if it’s their business, why should you really pay much heed to it anyway? We can’t control others' thoughts and words, and also, this is a free country, so just turn the other way and find other meaningful things to do.

8. Stay loose (i.e don't get uptight about it). Can tying yourself up in knots, worrying about what people will think stop others from thinking or talking? Since it can’t, lead life on your own terms. As long as you’re kind and not going out of your way to hurt anyone, everything should be okay.

9. Find things to do that involve your passions. Art, social work, writing, craft, yoga – invest your time in positive things, and you’ll see the difference it makes.

10. Stop the curiosity cycle. Do we need to know what others are saying about us behind our backs? Does that enrich our lives in anyway? If it doesn’t, the next time a whiff of gossip comes riding on the north wind, just turn away and find something else to talk about.

11. And lastly, what you don’t know, can’t hurt you.

Tell us how you dismiss gossip, at our Facebook Page.

#gossip #toxic #staypositive #happiness #beyourself

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