Every day we make a choice to be either positive or negative. Positive people try to refrain from gossiping and speaking badly about others. Negative people engage in gossip and facilitate negativity with people around them. Unfortunately, most people, me included, end up in the latter category more often than not and choose to speak badly about other people. What most of us seem to not grasp is the life lesson that my grade school teacher, Mr. O’Laughlin, tried to teach his students: “blowing out somebody else’s candle doesn’t make yours burn any brighter.” Simply put, putting down others doesn’t make us any better.

When you stop trying to blow other’s candles out, your head becomes clearer. You will feel less anger in your world. You will no longer look at people and try to find what is wrong in them, but rather what is good. Dealing with people becomes easier when you try and see what is virtuous in them. People will enjoy your presence when you bring an aura of positivity to the table. You will be the guy welcome at all parties and events when you have a reputation for bringing good vibes to wherever you go. Everyone has members in their family or friend group who bring down the mood.  Don’t be that guy! Be the person that everyone can’t wait for to show up. Positivity and negativity are contagious, make sure you spread the good kind of vibes.

Far too often we look at one minor infraction as a conclusion of a person’s overall character. Our quick judgements of others lead us to wasting our time talking about why we do not like them. The assumptions we make aren’t always right and do more harm than good. To avoid being tempted to judge others, surround yourself with people who don’t spend their time gossiping. They will be good influences to help you stop speaking badly about others. Be wary of people or friends who gossip all the time. People that gossip about others in front of you are those who will gossip about you in your absence. Find a group of people who speak positively about others and hold them close.

How good do you even feel when you speak badly about others? I might be alone in this regard, but I never walk away from a conversation feeling good after spending time trashing someone else. I feel tense and on edge when I say negative things. No good comes from gossiping. Unless you are a sociopath who enjoys bringing pain to others, odds are you don’t feel too great either after ripping on someone. So, avoid these ill feelings and quit speaking badly of others.

To try and eliminate this negativity in my life. I gave up speaking badly about other people for Lent (a 40-day religious season) last year and I’ve hardly ever felt any better. Instead of walking around seeing everything through dark lenses as gloomy, I walked around without those lenses and saw the beauty in all. I saw the world in an entirely different way. When you look for the good in the world, you find it and vice versa. Doing this practice made me realize that happiness and internal peace comes down to making a choice. Making the decision to cleanse the body of bad thoughts and gossip rejuvenated me. I hope it can rejuvenate you too.

Activity

Play a game with yourself to not speak badly about other people for the day. See how much less pent up tension you feel at the end of the day. Try it for a week and see how great you feel.

 

 

Exercise 9

 

When I am with my friends, do I gossip about other people?

 

How does this make me feel?

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How do you think they would feel if they knew you were talking bad about them behind their back? Why would they feel this way?

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How did one day of not speaking badly about others make you feel?

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One week?

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Do you envision a better, happier, less stressful life when you don’t gossip about others?

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