"I really don't like to gossip, buuuuuuut...."
It came out of my mouth and I wanted to slam my head against the wall, but I just couldn't stop. I had this need to spew negative words.
A co-worker had said something a little frustrating to me, and the minute they left my office, I hurried down the hall, stepped into my peer's office and closed the door behind me. I started with that awful phrase and then just vented every possible negative thing I could about the individual. The small voice was trying to get me to stop, but I didn't want to. I felt even worse afterwards knowing that not only had I sunk that low, but I had dragged my peer into my little black rain cloud.
And boy is it contagious.
I do know a few people who actually like gossiping, but, in reality, most people like to keep drama in TV shows and out of real life. That's why we have shows like Real Housewives and the Bachelor.
Yet, we fall into the habit so often. Why? Why do we continue this cycle of antagonism and judgement?
I truly do hate negativity; I've always been really sensitive to it. Even if it isn't directed at me, negativity makes me sweat, my heart rate rise, and my head dizzy. Ideally, I would keep my whole life clean, crisp and full of light. And yet, I do this to myself, I find drama in the tone of someone's voice and multiply it by a thousand. I create darkness every time I give in to gossip.
Unfortunately, there is an assumption and association between characteristics like "back-stabbing," "catty," "busybody" and "flibbertigibbet" (isn't that a fun one?!?!) and women. We are seen as vindictive, and jealous, and petty. We hate it, we disagree with the labels, and yet, we don't change.
Women will not be able to shake this association until the negative speech and gossip stops. We teach children to not "talk behind someone's back" but we don't follow this key lesson as adults. We are taught not to indulge in that kind of behavior, that it muddies the soul, is rude, and is, in fact, a form of bullying. But we don't stop it, and we don't change..
I don't have the answer to this communal problem, but I am going to try to take the steps necessary to break this horrible habit, and I ask you to hold me to that. Will you join me in this pact for a lighter, brighter, happier community?