“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
The other day, I overheard a rather uncomfortable conversation between two women standing in line at Target.
They were clearly discussing a woman they both knew, and one of the two wasn’t mincing words with her thoughts–and, to be honest, she was entirely negative about the woman they were discussing. And that’s putting it mildly.
She hit on everything from the woman’s weight and physical appearance to her marriage and parenting. She attacked the woman’s career choices, her home and even the car she drove–and it only got more personal after that.
Let’s call them Betty Blissful and Gail Gossip, shall we?
With each insult and bit of hateful gossip Gail spat forth, Betty seemed to grow more uncomfortable. And when Betty tried to defend the woman, Gail seemed to grow more agitated.
While I had no idea who the woman was, the petty things Gail was saying made me think less of her–and I am talking about Gail herself, not the woman she was tearing down.
Negativity is Ugly
We all know someone who thinks they’re better than everyone else or who can’t walk into a new room without finding 15 things to criticize right away.
And we know people who are always spewing negative words, thinking negative thoughts and feeling negatively.
But here’s the thing.
You might not realize it, but when you sit around and gossip negatively about your friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors–it doesn’t reflect so much on the people you’re ripping on–it really reflects on you.
And for the record, I didn’t think any less of the woman I overheard Gail and Betty discussing–I actually thought less of Gail.
Have a Heart, Huh?
No matter how negatively you perceive someone, she is still human, and you can’t know what happens inside her head.
Maybe if you could, you wouldn’t feel so angry/threatened/frustrated.
Remember that everyone has his own issues, his own worries and concerns–and often, we have no idea what our friends and family members are dealing with, much less co-workers and acquaintances.
If you change your mind, you can change it all.
Ways to Stop Gossiping and Start Loving
- Have compassion for other people. Imagine what it’s like to walk a day in their shoes.
- If you wouldn’t say it to my face, don’t say it behind my back.
- Speak and react with love, always. (This can be hard, but practice! It feels good!)
- Focusing on what is good in the world and the people around you.
- Read more: Create New Habits, Spur Positive Change
Check Yourself, Redirect Yourself
When you do have negative thoughts, make a point of intentionally noticing and ‘cancelling’ them. Decide what you’d rather think about or focus on, and get started right then.
Do you find yourself engaging in negative gossip? Do you want to stop? What are your best ideas or tips for doing that? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.