twelve months of bliss

Twelve Months of Bliss – Feb. Recap & Linkup

February 24, 2016

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.

gossip EG

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?

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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!

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  • Love this and totally agree. I missed the post at the beginning of the month, but I love this post. I definitely believe that we can have lovely, fulfilling, stress-relieving conversations without brining up negativity. Though it makes us feel better sometimes, talking positively will make us feel so much better. And though it’s hard, positivity rubs off – the more we can be positive people around and for others, the more everyone else will appreciate our optimism and the more it will rub off on others. And if it doesn’t rub off, it’s probably time to find new, less negative and more positive friends! xx

    • It definitely does make us feel better sometimes. It sure can turn into a bad habit though and then before I know it, I’m complaining about everything. Which is obnoxious! 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Sarah! Hope all is well!

  • Hello friend. I miss our Mondays together! My heart is still very much grateful to be able to meet back here for 12MofBliss! We had similar views on this topic this month as I’m sure others will too. It was difficult, I failed many times. The good thing is, while I was failing, I also was conscious of exactly what was happening and a few times stopped myself and either changed the subject or moved on, sometimes physically removing myself from the conversation. I’d like to think I could do that all the time, but I’d be lying. Especially with co-workers, that I found to be the hardest place. It is never to hurt someone, it is just “teacher news” as we like to say. Even so, I’m glad my brain is being conditioned to avoid such conversations whenever I can and instead, gear it to positive thoughts on my behalf and theirs. I do believe this was the hardest challenge yet. See you in a few days for March’s topic.

    • I have missed you too, Michelle!! 🙂 I’m planning on taking part of this weekend to catch up on everyone’s blogs 😉 Looking forward to reading your recap today! I definitely thought about what I was saying more than I did before this challenge… which I view as a success. Now if only I could take it one step further and learn how to quiet myself on a daily basis. I felt so much better on the days I followed that rule! See you in March!!

  • It’s so nice to see you back here!!! 🙂 We both touched on a similar path in our posts. I started to question what was gossip especially because I work with a team of individuals who do difficult jobs and often with difficult people. There are times when you simply have to tell someone what happened. Nonetheless, i am also the one on our team that keeps reminding others that we are dealing with individuals in crisis. We need to focus upon the positive but our brains are naturally wired. Thus we have to be focused on being positive.

  • Man this month was hard. I find it’s so easy to just get on a flow of talking, especially when I’m frustrated with someone/something. I’m slowly learning that sometimes, it’s just best to keep my mouth shut. Ha!

    • Not an easy feat, I know! I think it says something though that we’re becoming more aware of it… we just need to take it that next step 🙂

  • Such a good challenge this month! I really struggle with this at times. Thank you for encouraging me to be mindful of my words.

  • Yes, we can. If we only focus on improving ourselves every day, imagine what we can achieve.
    Great thought-provoking article.

  • Love, love, love this!! Such wise WORDS in this post dear! 😉

  • Dara

    LOVE this idea. I heard something the other day, ‘the price of gossip is being gossiped about’ which really makes you think before you open your mouth…. Again, I love this idea. Great post.


    • Interesting. That’s a new one for me too. Thanks for stopping by, Dara 🙂

  • Absolutely love your site and this idea!!! This whole thing is so beautiful!!!!

  • Tori

    Wow I love this! I’m so happy I stumbled across your blog.