A Mantra to overcome rumouring
Steven Covey gives an effective tool to overcome our lower nature, with a phrase that he coined: ‘Be Loyal to the Absent’
Imagine the person you are tempted to speak of negatively is present with you in the conversation. Would you then speak about him the same way if he was here, right now? If yes, then go ahead and say what you want to say. It’s ok to be critical, but remember he’s present with you, and if you wouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed to say that in his presence, you could very well say it in his absence.
Often that’s not the case. When some names come up in our social conversations, do we have the character to honour those who are not present with us at that time? If we show that strength, we’d earn more friends and a happy life. As Covey said, “In being loyal to those who are absent, we build trust with those who are present.”
When we speak ill of others we are simply engaging in life-alienating activity, and attract dark, negative energies in our own heart. One who relishes speaking evil of others is attracting those very things in his own mind.
It’s common to speak nicely with others- a social trait we pick up early on in life. But very few can resist the temptation to judge and criticize behind a person’s back. And still rare are those who just can’t criticize others. We need to reach this stage to be able to experience deep contentment and peace within ourselves.
Rise if you slip
However if you are stuck with the habit of gossip, and seek to overcome it, begin asking this simple question to yourself: ‘Am I being loyal to the absent?’ You may still slip, and even forget the rule while you converse with someone, but later as you retire for the day, review your day’s activities, and check if you broke this rule. If you unfortunately did gossip, then resolve to follow this rule the next time when you are talking with someone. This daily review would eventually help you remember to be loyal to the absent.
If you do manage to make the right choice of saying ‘No’ to critical gossip, you’d have won a major inner battle. And to feel truly fulfilled, look for the good in others; even if you find a little of it, magnify it, and make daily appreciation a regulative practise.
Let’s spread the appreciation goodness- the antidote of gossip, and make our own life auspicious.