Updated: Apr 27, 2019
There are lots of posts out there telling me that I should stop / how to stop, gossiping. But why would I? It feels good. And besides, I need it.
Really, the only time I have gossiped is when I was feeling disappointed, down on myself or in some way ‘less than,’ and it was comforting to know that I was not the only one who made mistakes, suffered losses and failed.
At that moment, gossiping lifted my flagging self-esteem. I not only felt better, I felt superior.
But the feeling never lasted; and later, it turned sour.
Sour? Ask yourself: Five minutes after listening to gossip, do I feel bigger or smaller? Do I like myself more or less?
And then there is that other downside: those who talk about others to you, talk about you to others.
So I guess at this point, I am supposed to encourage us to stop. But where else can we find such a quick boost to self-esteem?
Instead of looking, consider getting rid of that 'down' or 'less than,' feeling.
Here are 3 immediate self-boosting ideas ( link below): #4. List 3 occasions you have overcome adversity; #3. List 5 achievements you are proud of; #6. List 5 people you have helped.
Another instant boost is to go out and help (at a homeless shelter/soup kitchen, or give money or a blanket to someone homeless, or visit someone lonely at the senior center or hospital).
And the best way to move those feelings? Turn toward them, feel them (without words and with a relaxed body/breathing). Those feelings are not reality and this releases permanently.
Go Ahead and Disturb Them
You have decided to stop, but how do you stop those around you? Just listening to gossip can be as detrimental to self-worth as participating.
* If it is one person, you can stop them by asking: “Why are you telling me this?” And then change the subject.
* If it is a regular group (of gossips), join them ready to change the subject to something positive or at least neutral.
* And if you want to go all the way (and deeply disturb every gossip in the group), start gossiping with positive comments and praise. You might be thrown off the island (rejected by the group), but you will draw people to you, cement friendships and, above all, lift your self-worth.
Amidst the loud chaos of our lives, Mom single-handedly raised three wild boys and a girl (before disposable diapers, instant dinners and automatic dishwashers).
It was not until long after her death I realized the depth of her struggles; with us, yes, but more her battles with smoking, weight gain and alcohol.
Mom fought, failed and fought again; only to fail again.
Toward the end, she mostly won, but each step was long and hard. And the quitting? My own failed resolutions have included guilt, shame and painful disappointment. And a loss of self-esteem.
The Push Back
Mom kept quitting because she did not realize that anytime we push pain on ourselves, it causes an opposite reaction, a 'push back'.
And every diet she tried was pain filled: she could not eat her favorite foods; and she was hungry too.
More exercise meant the pain of long walks, which soon became boring.
And the harder she pushed to keep going just caused her more pain, which created more and more ‘push back.’ Until it was all just too much. And she would quit. Again.
Looking back, I wish I could have taken some of her pain; at least shown her that positive change is easy, that it can come without the struggle.
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Note – These steps work easily with positive changes like less TV, more exercise or less weight. They do not work with heavy addictions (e.g. drugs).
For more information on stopping gossiping, here are 2 links:
5 Ways to Stop Gossip in Its Tracks
How to Stop Gossiping and Creating Drama
Here are some links for raising self-esteem:
7 Exercises to Raise Your Self-Esteem:
Take Steps to Feel Better About Yourself
Building Confidence & Self-Esteem