Gossip – are we all guilty of it?

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In the past couple of years I have had two personal experiences with it. Though opposite, I’ve learned a lot from both.

The first was last year when I found out that someone that I had trusted had made up lies about me and was spreading them around. When I found out, it was painful. I was worried that people would believe that it was true and would think of me as someone that I’m not. I felt angry, hurt and betrayed. I wondered why anyone that knew me and cared about me would continue sharing the information. My reputation had been damaged and all because of lies.

I am not the type of person to gossip, otherwise known as “sharing information” that I know about others. However, I inadvertently did it without thinking. I would never intentionally hurt anyone, but sometimes we do things while rationalizing and without thought of what could happen to someone else.

This is my second experience. There was a man that I would talk to in confidence. I was very close to him and trusted him. We would talk all the time and share stories about our life and talk about things that were happening. He pushed me to share information with him, telling me that my secrets were safe with him. Twice during that relationship I shared information about two different women. Once was in relation to an experience I had and included the woman’s name when talking about the experience. I said all good things about her except “the big secret”. It wasn’t intended to be hurtful; the secret was part of the story being told about my experience.

The second was in relation to why I wouldn’t fix someone up on a date with someone else. I had gained that information from a friend that I trusted and I had been told knew of it firsthand. After I had shared the information with the man, I had told him how I felt bad telling him these things about other people. He reassured me that it was safe with him. Still, I felt bad and when I realized what I had done I went to the first woman and apologized profusely for sharing the information. She was very kind and Christlike and accepted my apology, even though it brought back bad memories for her which were painful. As for the second women, I was consumed with the stress going on in my life and didn’t think to apologize. I had been overwhelmed with life’s worries and what was in front of me. Later the man selfishly shared the information about the second women, twisted it for his own intentions and hurt the woman to get back at me.

My initial reaction was to be upset and hurt by the man that had betrayed me. I was worried about the woman it hurt and was worried that the person that had shared the “first-hand information” with me would also get into trouble.

Then came my list of rationalizations. They went something like this: I had never told anyone before or since, had only shared it with the person I trusted most, he had promised me he wouldn’t repeat it and I had received the information firsthand and secondhand, by someone I trusted (who had told me they had firsthand knowledge), and it was never meant to hurt anyone. Great excuses, right?

Then quickly the realization of what I did came along. If I had to rationalize something and make excuses it meant that I was wrong…which I completely was. The man I trusted doing what he did spoke of his character, but that is his problem. What I did spoke of mine. Sharing private information that could hurt someone went against who I am. I have tried to dedicate my life to helping, loving, caring and uplifting people. What I had done, whether I thought I had a reason or not, was gossip and I hurt people. There is no excuse for that. I desperately wish I could erase the words I had spoken but I can’t. Once spoken, words cannot be undone. The things that I do, and the things that you do, affect others’ lives. Remember the saying “do unto others as you would have others do unto you?” Do we always follow that or do we make excuses for our faults.

I was wrong, and although I feel horrible about it, I can’t properly fix it. The only thihng I can do is be more careful to not repeat my mistake. Please don’t make the same mistake that I had made. Be careful with your words. If you have to tell a story, don’t include names or insinuations to who it might be, even when you trust the person. Don’t pass on information that you know is true or that you hear from someone you trust that may or may not be true. Words can hurt people, so let’s not be the cause of someone’s pain. If you’ve ever had someone talking about, or you’ve shared information and, like me, you wish you could take it back, then you know what I’m talking about. It is wrong, and it hurts.

This is my lesson for the day. Merry Christmas. I love you all!

(Posted by Anonymous)

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