Hi, all! How is everyone?? These past couple weeks have been incredible to focus on writing my novel, but it’s also been really strange to not come to this space every day – especially on Mondays. I miss you guys for sure! I’ll be sharing a novel update and currently post in the near future but for today, let’s talk about this month’s Twelve Months of Bliss challenge: for the month of February, choose kindness over gossip within your social circles and community.
Um, can we all agree this challenge was super hard? It wasn’t just me who had a hard time with this, right? Did anyone succeed?
When I shared this challenge at the beginning of the month, the comments on that post were some SERIOUS reminders that this is very much a problem in our day to day. Almost every single person who commented made a note about how hard this was going to be, especially in the workplace or with close social circles, and for almost the entire month I wracked my brain about all the reasons why this is so hard – especially when we are good people and most of us really do “mean well.” And truthfully, there was a day early on in this challenge where I actually wondered if this was even possible, to totally squash the “gossipyness” and negativity in our lives for good. I wrestled with this a lot because at times, I wasn’t so sure.
I realized that most often, in our circles, the gossip or negativity never starts out as ill-intentioned. I mean, that’s what we’d say if someone questioned us about it, right? We’d still assure you that we are kind people, people who really do care about others, and people who want to live a more positive life, and that talking about “this stuff” is just what we do with our closest friends. Or coworkers. Or sisters. Or person sitting next to us on the train. It’s how we blow off some steam after a hard day of work, after all. And we’ve deemed all of this to be socially acceptable. But here’s what I’ve been left wondering: where is the encouragement and celebration instead of the jealousy and judgement? Even if we may disagree, do we really need to attack each other and then continue to talk about it to others?
We have allowed this to be the norm, and I think that’s why it’s so hard. We start the gossip ourselves when we feel awkward about the silence and we encourage others who start it when we join them. We get so used to conversing with certain people a certain way that when we’re challenged to change it, we don’t even know what to talk about. And that’s when making the change feels impossible, at least for me it does. The thing I’ve had to remember is that no one is forcing me to partake in gossip and negativity. It’s a choice that only I can make for myself.
As time went on this month, I began to wonder what really constitutes as gossip. Like, just because I talk about someone or something to someone, is that gossip? Is it a negative thing if what I’m saying isn’t negative? Is it a negative thing if even what I’m saying isn’t necessarily positive but the person I’m saying it to doesn’t know and will never meet this person? And so I googled the word gossip:
casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
My first thought after reading the definition was okay, let’s say it’s not necessarily gossip. Let’s say it’s something that I do know to be true. Is it still really my place to talk about it with someone else… especially if it’s negative?
All of this brought me to my final thought about this entire challenge: instead of being so concerned about what constitutes as gossip and if what we’re running our mouths about is right or wrong, can we instead focus our efforts on positive conversations instead of negative ones? Isn’t that what will really benefit us all in the end? Must we really talk about every annoying or “bad” thing that effects us every single day? Must it always be spoken about? What if instead of sharing these types of things, we share our dreams? What if instead of encouraging each other to talk about “what we think we know about so-and-so,” we encourage each other through a rough morning of an ordinary life? What if instead of inquiring about the details of someone not even present, we ask for the prayer requests of those right in front of us? If we choose to talk about other people, can it be in celebration?
This month made me realize that no- we do not need to open our mouths to talk about every single dramatic or sucky moment that happens in our lives. We just don’t. And this is not always an easy thing, I understand that. The fact is, there are a lot of negative things going on in the world and a lot of stuff happening in our day to day – most of which we all have strong opinions about. (Now there’s an understatement.) Please know that I’m not saying we can’t have an opinion about things or that it’s not okay to speak out about things. This is not what this is about. But I do think we need to remember that we have the power to choose what we do and do not talk to others about, to choose what we do and do not throw out into the universe for those around us to absorb – because they will soak it up. Just as gossip and negativity seems to be highly contagious, so is kindness and positivity. And I don’t know about you but I’d much rather live a life of the latter.
Can we be good people getting better? Can we aim for that? Isn’t that alone worth the hard work?
Now it’s your time to share your feedback from this month’s challenge. Link up your thoughts below & don’t forget to check the Twelve Months of Bliss page in a few days for next month’s challenge!