“What is told in the ear of a man is often heard a thousand miles away.” – Chinese proverb
Gossip and backbiting- speaking critical of someone, passing negative judgements, and trying to prove one’s own point leaves a bad taste in the mind. It’s the other side of the coin of flattery; gossip is what we say behind their back that we wouldn’t say on their face, and flattery is what we’d say on their face that we wouldn’t on their back!
The result? Our lower nature is activated; we relish more of the harmful thinking, and it gets addictive and poisonous, and feeds on itself; we become compulsive rumour mongers. Eventually we are totally disconnected from our own good selves- our higher, virtuous nature.
It’s a little wonder then that many land up betraying their own values, and consequently feel unloved and unfulfilled.
Why do we criticize?
We spread rumours because of a deep need to feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately our strategy is poor; we derive our self-worth by others’ failures. As we speak ill of others, we subtly imagine, ‘I am better than him for I don’t have this vice or I can never do such a thing’. It’s the self-approval that we seek, but because we do it wrong, we go further away from our self. Ironically no one claims to like to gossip, yet most people enjoy it.
Besides, the people with whom we share negativity of others would also be uncomfortable; they’d wonder if that’s what we’d talk about them as well when they are not around. We have lost them too!
Tearing a person down, or passing negative irresponsible comments on others would also subtly make us feel guilty when that person comes in front of us. Even if we are desensitized from guilt, the act never goes unpardoned; it comes back in some form to haunt us. Basically we’d never be happy if it’s our nature to see faults in others.
The solution is simple; seek self-approval through healthy means, and don’t speak harshly about anyone. Be kind and compassionate on others.
To be continued….