Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Gossip Hangover

Guest Editorial from Karen

I just had a great night out with a couple of friends. What is it, though, about sitting around for a couple of hours in a restaurant, that degrades the filter between what I'm thinking and what I'm saying? The good part of this is that it raises my awareness of the kinds of thoughts I've been having -- clearly a few thoughts in there that, when spoken aloud, have the potential to give me a gossip hangover. Mostly these are thoughts about people that I feel have wronged me in some way and children that I feel have wronged my children in some way. And like alcohol, which I used to drink a lot of, and now drink a little of, I used to gossip a lot, and now do it a little. So, I think I notice the effects more of how it makes me feel.

During my weeks as a single mom, outside of work, I talk mainly to my children, so I don't tend to talk about things that induce a gossip hangover. We talk about the ways we like to interact with the world, how to make good in the world, and how to turn "bad" into "good." If someone does something to one of my kids that he doesn't like, I believe it's my job to help my child make good choices on how to respond, and not to try to control the other kid. Each of us, from kids to grown ups, get to make our own choices and unkind choices have their own effect on the person making them. Celie in "The Color Purple" says to Albert, "Everything you done to me, already been done to you." There's a lot we don't control in the world around us (i.e. if someone hits us or yells at us), but we always get to choose how we react to what people "done" to us.

I've also been noticing how we can create the world that we interact with. The more positive I put out there, the more positive I feel coming back. I've read, and believe, that when you're planning to do something like improve your eating habits, it's best not to tell a bunch of people about it, but instead just to do it. So, I'm a little hesitant to form a public intention, and yet, I'm thinking it might help me accomplish this if others know what I'm working on. Here it is --

I believe that:
-Bringing my judgments of people's actions into a discussion produces no positive outcome
-I can function and act entirely independently of the actions of others, if I don't like what they are doing, and that this is a better solution than bitching about them
-Acting on what is true for us, and being open to what others have to offer, is the best way to bring positive energy into the world
-My truths are only my truths and not The Truth
-It takes more energy to reject what someone is doing than to accept it.

Based on these beliefs, I intend to release judgments that come into my head, rather than seek validation for them from myself and others. Before speaking, I would like my words to meet at least two of the three criteria: "Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?"


StuntMom said...

I too found myself in a similar situation this weekend. I was out with friends that I don't see too often and rather than saying nothing, I happened to mention some information that was not to be shared. It made me stress for hours and hours after the conversation. I felt so horrible all evening that I just wished so badly that I could take back my comment. I just felt like the worst friend imaginable that a friend had trusted me with semi-confidential information and I didn't have the sound judgement to keep it to myself. It too felt like I had had too much to drink, when infact that was not issue at all, I just needed to spend a few minutes thinking before speaking.

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