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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gossip anyone?

Who hasn't been stung by the sharp words of another? Worse than that, who hasn't said words that pierce the heart of another? How you talk, or do not talk, about others impacts every relationship you have, even your relationship with yourself.

When you gossip, you say more about yourself than you do about anyone else!

If I could only pass on one tip to improve people's lives, this might just be the one. Gossip is not a fun way to pass the time. It is not kind. It is not harmless.
  • When you talk about someone else you can harm them. Also, you do not allow for the growth and improvement of the person being talked about.
  • You hurt yourself and the listener too. Gossip is an ugly thing.
  • Understand that if something about another person is true, it is still gossip. Even if you would say it to the person directly, it is still gossip.

Listening to gossip is the other side of the coin and is damaging too. (tips on avoiding listening to gossip to come…)

Quote for the day: "Believe nothing against another but on good authority; nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to conceal it." --William Penn

Experiment: Pick one person in your life, a parent, sibling, spouse, child, friend, boss, co-worker or fellow student, and stop talking about or listening to gossip about that person. To make this really work, stick with this over time. How does your relationship change? How do your feelings about yourself change? This is not an easy experiment but it will change your world in unimaginable ways. It may be one of the greatest gifts you give yourself.

Aunt Laya

Exerpts from today's post come from the book "You Don't Have to Learn Everything the Hard Way" reprinted by permission of the author, me! Also, with gratitude for the use of this photo to my friend Mario at Soap Vision, where they have the coolest soaps ever.


Anonymous said...

That is about the best advice I have ever heard. It is so easy for women escpecially to fall into this. I stopped by to say thankyou for the kind words on my blog. I'll be back:)

Laya said...

Hey Faith,
Thanks for visiting my site, I do hope to see you and was inspired to write some other entries after visiting yours. Keep me posted so I can dance when your new sweet baby arrives.
<3 Laya

Anonymous said...

There's another side to the coin too. There are people who behave unethically and inappropriately, relying on the community's reluctance to speak "gossip" which allows them to their hurtful behavior.

The laws of Lashon Hara are quite clear....if the person who is behaving unethically has been warned and continues with their behavior; if the person's behavior is poisoning the community and by speaking about it your intention is to prevent more harm from occuring; if the intention is to warn others away from someone whose behavior is unethical -- these are all valid reasons for letting the community know about what is happening.

It's pretty easy for an individual to turn attention away from his/her actions by crying that they are the "victim" of a lashon hara compaign. Our abhorrance of gossip makes this an easy "out".

It is up to the community to differentiate between a truely innocent individual who is the victim of lashon hara, and one who is using the charge to deflect attention from their own immoral behavior.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree.

My biggest gripe is with people who do things that are hurtful and mean, and then when people are outraged, they (or their friends) protest "oh, plony is the victim of lashon hara" -- the fact that the person DID act in such a way, and continues to act in that way, showing no remorse, doesn't seem to matter.

The laws of gossip are meant to protect innocent people from being falsely accused, or to protect someone who has erred from being dragged down before they have time to repent.

They are NOT meant to protect someone who acts maliciously, and CONTINUES to act like that, from the reprecussions of a community that says "if you openly and flagrently engage in immoral behavior, stay away from us!"

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Greets to the webmaster of this wonderful site! Keep up the good work. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hm-m-m-m. Where have I heard this before?

We've got a lady living down the street from us who encourages a married man to hang around her. All the neighbors see them, the guy's kids see them, the kids' friends see them, the wife's friends see them....and whenever anyone says something, the two of them scream "Gossip! Oh dear me, everyone is gossiping about us!"

Now it's true, they might just be having long and deep conversations. Maybe about Torah. Maybe about Kabbalah. Maybe about the deeper meaning of the world.

But com'mon.

The two of them have done more to destroy the lives of innocent bystanders (the guy's wife and kids) than most people do in a lifetime.

So we're not supposed to tell other people in the neighborhood what's going on? In a case like this, I think that it's MORE of a sin to sit by quietly than to warn others that the two of them are putzing around together and everyone else should STAY AWAY FROM THEM!

Laya said...

Quote for the day: "Believe nothing against another but on good authority; nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to conceal it."--William Penn

I like this quote because it says in one sentance the essence of my message. If it is a greater hurt to conceal something, then it must be revealed. Even in this kind of circumstance, there is a lot that needs to be considered.

Mostly in life though, in our day to day living, there is more we need to be careful NOT to say.

And for the times when we need to speak up to protect others, may we each find the strength to do what is right.

Thanks for posting everyone.

Aunt Laya

Anonymous said...

I live in a small town and, in a similar situation to one of the previous posters, am faced with such decisions.

Without going into details, there is such a couple living amongst us. The children of the married partner are appalled and embarassed by their parent's behavior, and the child of the unmarried partner are emotional basket cases.

These people have been warned repeatedly that their behavior is simply inappropriate, but continue to engage in such.

The part that rings a bell here is their self-rightous defense that the people who object to their behavior are "spreading gossip" -- they have (tried to)turn the story around from focus on their own immoral behavior to accusations of "everyone is gossiping about us -- poor us" as though the gossip is the main issue.

In addition, there are well-meaning friends who sooth the couple by agreeing "yes, you poor dears, everyone is gossiping about you, poor you" and by doing so, they actually encourage these people to continue to engage in their relationship!

So it's not so simple, saying "don't gossip". Sometimes, not speaking out results in a deeper sin being committed, which might be averted if the individual were to feel public sanctions.
Laya, I think that you have to make a clear distinction here -- when is gossip unacceptable, and when do people need to inform each other of immoral behavior so that people are made aware of who it would be best to stay away from (and keep their spouses and children away from!)

Anonymous said...

I'm a wife, faced with a wandering hubby and a "girlfriend" whose actions are reinforced by her "religious" friends who comfort her by telling her that she's the victim of a lashon hara campaign.

To me, those friends are just as guilty as she is in this story. If they would stop comforting her, maybe she'd start realizing that there is NO EXCUSE for encouraging philandering. I wonder how these "friends" would feel if they had to listen to their kids talk about being teased by their peers.

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