Everyone has their vice. Some eat too much. Some drink too much. Some smoke. Some do all of the above. And some like to gossip.
That's my vice, gossip.
It's not like I'm going around destroying everyone's reputation around me, but I do like the scoop. I like to know what's going on in everyone else's world. It's interesting to me. Who's married. Who's not. Who is dating who.
I also like to process other people with people who know them. For instance, A rubs me the wrong way. A and B are friends. I talk to B to find out how they feel about A. Maybe there's a reason why they rub me wrong, maybe there isn't. I don't say anything negative about A, I just get more information about them.
I like to read celebrity gossip blogs. I'm forever fascinated by their self-destructive behavior and insane lifestyle.
Today is the 9th of Av. Today is a day of mourning the destruction of both of our holy temples. They say loshon hora had a role in the destruction of our temples. People spoke poorly of one another and they destroyed themselves because of it.
I believe it. I have seen again and again when something I've said about someone else has bitten me in the tush. It's a train wreck I can see a mile away. The minute something comes out of my mouth I realize I should not have said it. Often it's not said with the intent to gossip, it's said with the intent to say the truth. Where is the fine line between explaining the whole story and gossiping?
Last night I was on aish.com and read an article about this very topic (Link to article). There was solid advice but I didn't feel like a reformed gossiper. Online I found several Jewish tools to help people stop gossiping. I decided to purchase Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson a Day, The Concepts and Laws of Proper Speech. I found it on google books and started to read it immediately. Now instead of starting my morning with gossip blogs I will start by reading a lesson in the book.
I am actually grateful for this day of mourning. I am grateful that I am encouraged to look deep within and reflect on my faults.
Recently I got into some drama with a member of my family. Neither of us believed the other's side of the story. We were at a stalemate. This person told me I always expected the worst of everyone - that I thought everyone was out to get me. I'm still not sure how I feel about this assessment. I know there is truth to the comment but I don't think its a law in my life. But maybe there is a glimmer of truth to it. If I stop thinking everyone is out to get me then I won't feel the need to speak loshon hora. If I'm not worried about what other people think then I don't need to try to ask around to figure them out. I can accept people for who they are or who they want to pretend to be.
Ultimately gossip is another form of vanity. You talk about others and want to know what others think about you. Maybe it's more than just a vanity issue, maybe it's an issue of self-esteem. When you are truly confident in yourself you have no need to discuss anyone else. Their stuff doesn't matter. Someone else's opinion of another person doesn't matter. You trust your own judgment to make a decision about a person.
I don't think I can solve the problem of gossiping in a day. I think this will be a lifetime of work learning what constitutes gossip and what doesn't. However, I am committing to figuring it out. I don't want to bring unnecessary negative energy into my life or my family's life. I want my daughter to grow up without gossip existing in her home. I want Sadie to continue living with Hashem and purity - a golden light of love and positive energy unaffected by negative energy in this world.
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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