This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

When is it okay to gossip?

At a women's meeting I attended a few weeks ago, we were discussing how we express love in our lives. One women mentioned gossip--that she was trying to eliminate it from her life. She'd been hanging around with women who gossiped, and she noticed she, too, got caught up in the storytelling. And she wanted out. So she said she was working on that, as a love gift to herself.

Even though she's not alone in the gossip world--studies show that 60 percent of us do it and that it might even be good for you--I think it's a good idea of hers to stop it.

And I could have used her message as a reminder this morning--before I gossiped about my ex on, of all things, Facebook. I write frequently about what happened to us in our lives, because it led me to my BIKE. Here, of course, I write about him with a purpose, not with the intention of spreading rumor or speaking ill of him to hurt him. I do it because there are lessons to learn.

But this morning, I wrote something that I shouldn't have. I said something that I shouldn't have--not so much the news that I shared (because it's good news for them) but what I said about it. It was unfair to him and the wife he has now. In order to learn my own lesson, I have to convict myself on that, because now it could cause a bit of trouble for my daughter whom I had to forewarn. It's a complicated relationship between the two of them, partly because of who he is and who he has become. And I wouldn't exactly call it love. But it's all she's got, and I hate to think that anything I might have written or said would get in the way of that. That's never my intention.

And, to be honest, what I said was spiteful. I do not like my ex. How he behaved toward us in the past (and in many instances, still today) is unforgiveable, in the sense that I could never consider being a friend to him, as he might think I should be.

It's awkward being in the same room with him because of how he behaves toward me, which, honestly, I think has a lot to do with his guilt. But that's for him to decipher. It's just the last time we met in person--at our daughter's house for a party--he extended his hand toward me...for a handshake?! It was as though we'd never met. Yet, we were married for 10 years. I'd rather be ignored. And just a little more than a year ago, his wife (with whom he was having the affair during my marriage to him) had me pinning a flower on his lapel at my daughter's wedding--because she said she couldn't do it right?! Things like that just make me cringe.

Because he's hurt me and my family in ways he will never understand, it makes things difficult whenever talk of him is inserted in conversations with others. But I have to continue working on rising above that. I have to work on letting that remaining anger go (And this is an admission I didn't even know I had to make. But there it is!). There have been moments when I thought I was past that, but as my family continues to grow, I realize that may not exactly be the case.

It's difficult to admit such things. It's difficult to admit when you're wrong. But I know I was, and I know that's exactly what I have to do if I'm ever to move forward and beyond the hurt. So when it is okay to gossip, you might ask. Thankfully, I realize, my one and only answer is this:

...when it's okay to be human.

Has there ever been a time in your life where gossip led to you feeling bad about yourself? What did you learn from that experience? Would you take a moment to share what happened here?


Debbie said...

Jackie, you said it ...after all, we're human. But I hate gossip! And I find it's so easy to get caught up in it when other women are doing it. I find though that I really don't like to be around people who gossip on a regular basis. I'm sure we all have some of those people we know.

I think it's great that you owned up to the fact that it was wrong to gossip in this instance about your ex. When people have wronged us somehow it seems OK to do. I know I've often had all the rationalizations as to why it was OK. But in reality it's not.

For me, what has been helpful is to know that the other person really isn't getting away with the bad behavior just because I may chose to forgive. After all, they have to answer to a higher authority than me one day. And the other thing I now do is ...tattle to God. It may sound silly but just by verbalizing my anger about an injustice aloud to God helps me. He already knows about it but it's therapeutic for me and then I no longer feel the need to call up my friends to share the latest.

The BIKE Lady said...

I love that--tattle to God! Great idea.

Jennifer Fink said...

Looking at the "gossip is good" study, it seems that they looked at gossip as sharing personal information, not sharing personal information about OTHERS. I think that's a huge and crucial difference.

That said, though, I'd say it's OK to gossip -- and I'm not even sure I'd call it gossip -- when one person is sharing something about a mutual friend, that they know the mutual friend would be OK with sharing. For instance: A couple days ago, a friend told me that another friend was struggling with some personal issues. And today -- on Facebook, even -- I announced that a friend's mother had died, so that her friends (many of whom are on my list) could give her support.

The BIKE Lady said...


Yes, you're right about the study, and I definitely think there is a distinction, and it has to do with motivation, I think. What's your motivation about sharing this information? In my case, I was wrong, and I was upset with myself for it.

Maybe if we spent more time asking ourselves that--how do you feel about yourself?--we'd become more aware. If what you're saying goes against your personal value system, I think you'll know it, as long as you're clear on what your value system is.

It's not easy being your Best self every day. We are going to be influenced in many ways--both internally and externally. And it's important to stay in tune. I think I have some personal tuning to take care of.

By the way, I would have made the announcement that you did as well.


Anonymous said...

Great (and very honest)post, Jackie.

The BIKE Lady said...

Being honest with yourself, Anonymous, is the first step to learning more about who you are and who you want to be. It also makes room for others in your life to do the same.