Having been someone who used to gossip in the past, I’m really uncomfortable with that kind of behavior today. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, I did it to make myself feel better about my own insecurities. Sadly, the behavior was so ingrained in me, and these insecurities so subconscious, I didn’t even know I was doing it.
But when you know better, you do better.
Sadly, when I became aware of the insidious Gossip Weed… when I truly began plucking it… big weeds of People Pleasing started sprouting up to take their place. Walmart bucket sized gallons of Emotional Roundup later, I began making big headway.
I can handle one greenery or the other, but when both nasty flowers pop up at once, often thanks to someone else for planting an unwanted seed in my soil, it’s like pouring Miracle Growth on both defects. My spiritual garden goes from nicely pruned geraniums to large blossoms of “Screw You” and “You’re a Crappy Person” blossoms.
“Stay quiet, Andrea,” People Pleasing whispers in desperation. “It’s not worth it!”
But these days my conscience is more important than my comfort. When said resistance comes, I water my fears with a line I learned from my sponsor. “I’m not comfortable with what is being said and will not continue the conversation.” If I am still being bombarded with unwanted gossip, I take out the big watering hose: “You don’t have my permission to keep speaking like this.”
A few beats of awkward silence later, the person who has thrown the seeds then has 3 choices:
- Respect my boundaries.
- Use the opportunity to reflect and see if I have a point.
- Ask questions.
Almost all the time Sometimes none of the above points happen. Instead I might get anger, frustration, finger pointing and more defensive walls being built than on Trump’s architect’s plans. It’s then that I can choose to feel hurt, or instead feel compassion for the person who is reacting so poorly. I can’t lie, I feel a little sad (Not people pleasing is new muscle flexing for me!) but mostly I feel empathy.
Because that is what pain looks like.
And that’s not something I can fix.
But God can.
And for now, at this point of my life, I’m gonna have go with, “Amen.” (And start a new garden. I can’t make anyone else grow, but I can grow myself.)
Anyone else working on not gossiping or people pleasing? Leave a Comment!
(Note: It’s a special ed journey… your kid doesn’t need to have Tourettes to relate!) Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on Facebook.