Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Gossip is evil, I'm convinced of it. Talking about someone when they are not there to defend themselves is simply not fair. And I have a strong sense of justice. Yet I am pretty sure I am guilty of gossipping. I make all sorts of excuses for it. I tell myself that it is to help me "work out my issues" with someone else before going directly to the source of the problem. Or I convince myself it's not really gossip if I don't say anything bad. What is the definition of gossip?

According to Wikipedia, gossip is "idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It forms one of the oldest and most common means of sharing (unproven) facts and views, but also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information transmitted. The term also carries implications that the news so transmitted (usually) has a personal or trivial nature, as opposed to normal conversation.

So, am I gossiping when I am talking with a friend about our singing teacher, for example, and we complain about how the class is run? My intuition tells me it's wrong, but sometimes I need to bounce ideas off someone else before going directly to the person I'm having an issue with.Am I gossiping if I share something one friend has told me with another mutual friend? Do I have to ask the first friend's permission before sharing?

Having just turned 60, you'd think I'd have a handle on this kind of thing, but frankly, I'm still stuck. They used to say in the 12-step programs that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, I guess I'm a bit insane when it comes to gossip, because I can't seem to stop. I make myself feel better by saying it's not malicious gossip. But it is gossip, nonetheless.

I think Spirit is whispering to me loud and clear that this is something I need to change. Making a concerted effort to catch myself in this behavior needs to become a priority. Continuing behavior that doesn't feel good just doesn't make sense and it is certainly not who I want to be.



Anonymous said...

Your last line says it all! I'm behind you on this one.

Galen Kindley said...

You know, it's funny, your last sentence must be powerful--and a great summary. Alexis picked up on it. I was going to say the same thing she did. And, so, consider it said.
Best Regards, Galen

Patricia Stoltey said...

Malicious gossip is bad, no argument there. Idle gossip without evil intent is harder to analyze. Then there's gossip with good intentions (like planning a fundraiser for a sick friend in need). I just try to think before I speak. Self-editing is not an option once the words are spoken.



Gayle Carline said...

I think Eleanor Roosevelt summed it up nicely: “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

That being said, there is sometimes a deliciousness is discussing how the mighty have fallen, and many times, we do things that feel wrong because we've been so dysfunctional for so long, feeling wrong feels normal.


Jina Bacarr said...

Women's brains have very developed language skills so it's important how we use them.

Your post reminds us all that we should use it but never abuse it.



N A Sharpe said...

Interesting post. I don't like gossip, but, to some degree, we probably all do it. I don't believe all gossip is malicious but words can scar deeper than most physical wounds so we need to be mindful of that when speaking. You have to be able to recognize a behavior needs to change before you can change it - that's a learning curve most of us struggle with. Sounds like you are ahead of the curve. Quite admirable.

NA Sharpe

Enid Wilson said...

"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?" Pride and Prejudice.

In Quest of Theta Magic