The Toxicity of Gossip: Why It Hurts Us More Than Anyone Else

The Toxicity of Gossip

But rather than shame myself for my basic human nature, I can practice moments of self-forgiveness while simultaneously keeping myself accountable. Instead of telling myself, “I literally wrote an article about this… how am I so hypocritical?” I can gently say, “I really don’t like that I just gossiped. I don’t want to do that anymore. I forgive myself for being human but I am going to keep myself accountable by telling on myself promptly and making the concerted effort to change my actions.”

I am a firm believer that we cannot shame our way into growth.

The last of The Four Agreements is, “Always do your best.”

That means that some days, my best is only going to be 60%. Maybe I am grieving, I’m physically sick from a cold or the flu, or I am in the midst of some really intense hormonal cycle. Rather than using that as justification for my actions, I can practice self-compassion and understand that I am doing the best I can at this moment if I am being as honest as I can. Other days, my best is 100% and I can live up to my ideals.

The most significant thing to help me avoid the gossip trap is surrounding myself with people who are also trying to better themselves and hold themselves accountable.

Related: How to Stay Positive around Negative People

If I surround myself with negativity, toxicity, and gossip, I am going to adapt to my surroundings and that will become my new normal. If I surround myself with women and men who don’t allow themselves to fall into that trap or get honest about falling short and can practice that internal self-compassion, I am able to grow to those ideals that have been set as the norm.

Lastly, whether or not you’re in a 12-step program of recovery, you can apply the 10th step in your daily life. The 10th step is, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” The 11th step goes on to provide us with morning intentions and a nightly inventory which includes questions like, “Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid?”

Just for today, try to practice mindfulness and check your intentions when it comes to gossip. I can almost guarantee that it will not only change your relationships with others in your life, but most importantly, it will change your relationship with yourself.

Written By Hannah Rose 
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today 
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