We have all been guilty of it at one time or another, and even the most well-rounded people I’m sure, at times, slip from upon their own pedestal to induldge in sharing an opinion on someone or something. But how harmful can gossip be?

I heard on a Podcast recently that as much as 80% of our conversations are gossip fueled. Now this Podcast didn’t clarify if it was positive or negative gossip, but lets take a look at these very black or white interpretations of gossip.

Is anything all good? Or all bad?

Negative and positive gossip could be catergorised as a judgement of what someone else does/doesn’t do, the values they do/do not possess etc. Gossip is based purely on our opinion/assumption/experience and is completely biased. Often gossip is based on hearsay along with, again, our opinion/assumption/experiences of that information.

Knowing that gossip stems from an opinion, whether it’s positive or negative doesn’t really matter does it? Just because we are gossiping in a positive way about someone else’s life choices, we are still sharing an opinionated response to something. What makes our opinion/assumtption/experience fair or valid as a judgement call?

For example, if when you were in school you knew a boy that was unkind to someone else, and then you heard he and his wife split up. Without understanding the full circumstances surrounding either of those occurences, you may be inclined to say to your friends “did you hear about X,he and his wife split up, I heard he cheated on her, he was always a nasty piece of work” The”did you hear” makes it hearsay and “he was always a piece of work”, is an opinion.

An example of positive gossip would be “Oh my god she is so lovely, I heard she rescued a hedgehog and she does so many things for charity!” Whilst this is positive it is still hearsay and opinion based. She could in fact have many poor morals and values that if you knew about, may change your opinion on her external appearances.

The point is gossip is focused on external circumstances that often have little to no effect on your own personal life, however that very energy of gossip prevents you from being self-aware as you are putting your awareness on others.

I heard Jay Shetty give an incredible example of how detrimental gossip can be and it was something along the lines of;

Imagine you are living a village and all the inhabitants are building their own houses, including you. You look to your left and say “I don’t like those windows”, you look to your right neighbours and say “I like that door”you look ahead and say “their ceilings are a bit too low for my taste”.Then you turn and realise you haven’t laid one brick while all of your neighbours have been busy building their dream home.

Gossip can steal you of your dreams while those you gossip about build theirs regardless of your opinion. If you still don’t understand the damaging effect gossip can have, below are some great quotes that reinforce the harmful yet seemingly innocent truth about gossip.

“People gossip. People are insecure, so they talk about other people so that they won’t be talked about. They point out flaws in other people to make them feel good about themselves.” ~ Blake Lively

“Your dignity can be mocked, abused, compromised, toyed with, lowered and even badmouthed, but it can never be taken from you. You have the power today to reset your boundaries, restore your image, start fresh with renewed values and rebuild what has happened to you in the past.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

“Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.” ~ Unknown

“Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.” ~ Steve Maraboli

“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?” ~ Sean Covey