Pssst. Hey, did you hear about so and so? Yeah, can you believe it? She is so disgusting. He is such an ass. What a jerk. She is such a slut. He is just a drunk.

While I have had my share of conversations with these terms in them it makes me very uncomfortable to write them and see them on paper. It’s hard to admit that I have said things like this but it’s just the truth of who I once was. I don’t like it. I don’t want to admit it to you and I certainly don’t want to be a person who talks like this about others.

I recognize that my early need to gossip and criticize came from the fact that my self-esteem was so low I had to do whatever I could to break you down to my level. I recognize the human need to size ourselves up to others; maybe not everyone does this but I think it’s a pretty common behavior. I still catch myself doing it at times; mostly on the days when I am spiritually hungry. I have to make a conscious decision to fill myself with spiritual food rather than feeding off of others in hurtful ways.

I was thinking about what gossip is. In Webster’s online dictionary gossip is defined as ‘idle talk or rumor; especially about the personal or private affairs of others’. I then looked up rumor which is defined as ‘a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts’.

I started to unpack these definitions a bit because I was recently on a family vacation and wondered where the line was drawn when discussing family members; when is it appropriate to discuss a family member’s well being with concern and care and when does that discussion roll over into gossip and criticism?

I wondered if intent was a deciding factor. I know we can easily begin with “good intent” to inquire about how someone is doing but easily slide into what others “should “be doing. Intent is ambiguous.

I thought about the different discussions; asking my dad how my gramps in California is doing. My dad has been the conduit of updates for our family. He shared health updates; my gramps is 93 and not doing well. My dad shared, we expressed concern and love for my gramps, shared some memories and moved on. Healthy discussion? I think so.

Other people came up in conversation and soon the discussion turned into questioning why they are the way they are, why they do the things they do. What was being said was true, based on the experience of the person sharing. So I can rationalize that I was in on this discussion to share my own emotional journey with this individual and if I examine MY intent, this was true when it started. But, would I have gone to that person and directly shared my feelings or concerns? To some degree yes but not all of them I shared with others. So, in my mind this shifted to gossip and criticism. My intention started out innocently enough but I got caught up in being self-righteous, being a victim of this person’s behavior and my old resentments started slipping out.

I usually know I have crossed this line because of the feeling in the pit of my stomach; that discomfort, that sense that something is not right. I feel it more strongly and more quickly than ever before in my life and it usually serves to help me zip my lip and mind my own business. Sometimes, however, I go too far and have to evaluate and maybe apologize for my behavior.

Today I can remember that I have no idea what the journey of another is like. I can empathize, I can think I understand but really, while life ‘stuff’ may look similar to what I have been through and the feelings might feel alike, the truth is everyone copes differently, heals differently and resolves challenges differently. It’s not up to me to evaluate, assess or try to resolve something for someone else through discussions with anyone. I can’t possibly have the answers for someone else when I barely have the answers for myself. Only God knows.

Plus, Think about this. If someone is willing to gossip with you they are willing to gossip about you!

Author's Bio: 

Are you looking for YOUR answers? If you’re like me, you are on the journey of a lifetime. Perhaps you have been on this journey a short time, maybe you have been searching your entire life. Either way, it can be exciting, energizing, painful, slow and amazing but when you are finding YOU – it makes sense that it be an adventure. It can all be true.
As an Ordained Ministerial Counselor I am trained to guide you to your answers, to support you in your awareness of joy and pain, to be on the other side to welcome you to the next level of your spiritual awakening. I am committed to be a graceful companion as you navigate your self- discovery. Nothing is more humbling or sacred, for me, than to be trusted with joining you on your journey.

I am Ordained through Pathways of Light Spiritual College. I offer Accessing Inner Wisdom Counseling, a gentle guided process to discovery given to Pathways of Light by Spirit. Groups are always forming for my 8-week Spiritual Awakening Group and my 8-week Healing Inner Child Group.

Please visit for more information. I would love to be of service to you or someone you know.