Glasses houses can be broken…

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People in glass houses should not throw stones…

A glass house is only a stone’s throw away from breaking… unless of course, it is made out of bullet proof glass.  Who wants to live in a bullet-proof house though?  I would think life would be pretty miserable to always be in fear that you are going to get “shot”… to feel that you would need to surround yourself in impenetrable glass…

Gossip is one of the biggest stones any of us can throw (or that can be thrown at us).  Gossip hurts just as much as someone taking a rock and throwing it at full force in our face.  Think about cultures that would stone someone to death… we probably would describe  those actions as “barbaric” and we most likely would gasp in shock at the thought of witnessing something so horrible… but it happens all of the time … when someone is stoned to death by gossip.

My mother would always tell me “if you lose your reputation, it is very hard to get it back…”.  Gossip can kill careers, friendships and families – how is that different than stoning someone to death?

The founder of the company I work for used to say “you are gossiping if the person you are talking about would be shocked (surprised) at what you are saying”.  That description of gossip has always stuck with me and comes to the forefront of my mind when I find myself nattering about another person… would they be surprised at what I am saying behind their back?

I think most of us would be hard pressed to say that we have never gossiped because we are human…  and as human beings,  we will sometimes find ourselves talking about others when we are angry or feeling threatened in some way.  I have to be honest (and ashamed)  that I have gossiped… probably more times than I can ever remember.  I don’t intentionally set out to harm anyone,  that isn’t who I am or who I want to be.  I don’t set out to be malicious or have the wish to destroy someone’s reputation… but I have gossiped…

If I am totally honest with myself, when I get drawn into gossip it usually occurs when I feel I have been harmed, when I am feeling insecure, or when I feel some injustice has occurred to me or someone else. Gossip is really about how I am feeling about myself and is most likely not as much about the other person as it is about me.

The following is an excerpt from the eulogy I wrote for my paternal grandmother:

She never gossiped.  Never an unkind word was said towards or about anyone, regardless of how she may have felt.  She never judged others harshly…

My grandmother carried a secret with her for many years and never spoke of this secret until her children were adults.  I tend to believe that she stayed away from gossip because at one time she was possibly judged in a negative fashion… she might have been the one others were talking about… and she was most likely devastated at the time.  I believe my grandmother learned at a young age to be kind and to not talk about people in a harmful way behind their backs.

I recently saw the effects gossip has had on a dear friend of mine.  The light has dimmed in her eyes… she is sad… she is hurt… a part of her seems to have died…

At a time when my friend needs (and deserves) total love and support by her community she has instead, had to endure rumors and potentially damaging accusations… accusations that could destroy her reputation and kill her spirit.

My intention tonight is to be kind… to judge not… and to be more mindful of my words…

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