Isn’t it easy to “gossip” about other people? To talk about the actions that they make that, don’t make much sense to us? Isn’t it easy to kind of get carried away with our own little group of friends and criticize others’ behaviors, simply because we don’t know them, or don’t understand them? It’s very easy, but is it a good behavior that we don’t have to worry about, or is it something that causes harm to other people?
I think that we all know that talking about other people can easily cause hurt feelings, and it make the people we talk about more reserved and shy. It can easily leave them with bad memories of school and of the people in their schools. It can also hurt ourselves because I don’t believe that the most of us want to hurt other people. I believe we just don’t understand them or know much about them and so it’s easy to laugh at their mistakes. But in the end, we’re only going to be left with feelings of regret and shame.
Why then, do we gossip?
It is sometimes hard to understand other people and when we don’t understand them, then sometimes it’s easier to talk about them, to laugh at them then it is to try to understand them. This is human nature. Most people enjoy “gossip” even if they won’t admit it.
The best way to overcome this not-so-good behavior of talking about other people is to learn more about them and to attempt to understand them better. For instance, why do you talk about them? Is it because of their religion? If so, go to one of their religious services, with an open mind. Is it because they don’t have as much money as you do? If so, then go a week without buying yourself anything, or having your parents buy you anything. Go a week without any money at all on you and you’ll begin to understand them a little better. Is it because they live in a different neighborhood than you do? If so, then go to that neighborhood and stay a while. When we understand why people do or act or are the way they are, then we find their situations less amusing, and less interesting and we naturally don’t talk about them as much. Putting ourselves in their shoes really can help us learn to accept their differences rather than criticize them.
Another thing that you could do is become active in volunteer organizations. You may be able to volunteer at the local hospital, bringing cards to the very sick. You could volunteer at an old person’s home, and become friends with them. You could volunteer to read to children during the story hour at the library. You could teach Vacation Bible School. Once you turn eighteen, you’ll be able to volunteer at places like Junior Achievement and Big Sisters of America and volunteering will help you become the person that you would like to become. It will show you things about yourself that you don’t right now know exist, and it will help you stop talking about other people.
One other thing you might try is keeping a list that records five good things about yourself every day. They can be physical characteristics or personal ones: it doesn’t matter as long as they apply to you and you can take pride in them. Whenever you start to feel bad about yourself, take the list out and re-read it and re-read it again and again. Eventually, if you keep this list long enough, day after day, then you’ll begin to see that you really are a very good and special purpose, even with all of your not-so-good choices, which we all have. Forgiving yourself for those choices is necessary because we have to learn to accept ourselves before we can accept others.