In Part One we defined Gossip as any type of harmful or hurtful communication that is not absolutely necessary to share and then mentioned some of its dangerously negative results. We then looked at the first three ways we could overcome this habit and use our power of speech with results that would add value to others and to the world. In this article, we’ll highlight four more.
4. See No Evil. Judge people favorably, the way you would want them to judge you.
If you’ve ever been accused of doing something for which you know you were innocent, then you know how it feels to be misjudged. Remember, if you weren’t there, you don’t know. And, even if you were, you may have missed what actually happened in context.
5. Beware of Speaking Evil Without Saying an Evil Word. Body language and even positive speech can bring tremendous destruction.
Whether a “knowing look” or nod, body language is often used to insult in place of direct words. And, even seemingly positive speech, such as telling someone who you know takes advantage of other’s kindness that a particular person will give you “the shirt of his back” – although it seems like positive speech, is not an act of kindness.
6. Be Humble, Avoid Arrogance. These will be your greatest weapons against destructive speech.
As Rabbi Noah Weinberg (of blessed memory) used to say, “Take ‘pleasure’ in your accomplishments, not ‘pride’.” This way you recognize the Ultimate Source of your accomplishments. And, the less arrogant/more humble one is, the less they feel the need to speak ill of others.
7. Beware of Repeating Information. Loose lips sink ships. Even positive information needs permission before being repeated.
Telling someone who’s out of a job that your mutual friend, Julie, got a raise, does not constitute proper speech. Or, mentioning to someone that a mutual friend is thinking of moving might get spread the kind of information that the friend who is moving just doesn’t want people to know.
In the next article, we’ll look at the remaining three pathways.
The above is based on the book, GOSSIP: Ten Pathways to Eliminate It From Your Life and Transform Your Soul which I was privileged to coauthor with Lori Palatnik.