This post is admittedly a bit of stream of consciousness to help me process a little something small that happened last night. I hope it doesn't come across as too preachy. In a way I'm writing this for mostly me, as a way to hold myself accountable. Shall we begin?
Thanks to the world of social networking, nothing is very personal these days.
I knew this day would eventually come. I knew this day would come and I take partial responsibility for actively choosing to participate in said social networking world. I could easily say "just because you are my 'friend' on Facebook, does not mean we are true friends in real life and thus gives you any right....", but I think it's beside the point. I knew what I was doing when I signed up for good ol' FB (well actually I had no idea what I was doing, but 5 years later I definitely know it's impact). I especially knew starting this blog would spark a kind of curiosity. Luckily it doesn't make me regret my decision to begin writing again. It just pushes me to make peace with a couple of extra life elements.
Gossip is a funny little thing. We all do it. Yes....all of us, myself included. Even if we don't outwardly spread rumors or 'news' of other peoples lives maliciously; even if it feels like we are simply stating facts while being conversational...just the act of listening to a conversation containing personal information on another human being that could be considered 'sensitive' or 'private'...and it's not coming directly from the person it happened or is happening to...is a form of gossiping.
To a degree, I think it's inevitable. I also believe, to a degree, some of it is harmless. "How is so and so doing?" is a simple enough question. Inquiring about the lives of others with a heart of kindness and well meaning intentions is a form of 'gossip' I can certainly make peace with. But I mean let's be honest with ourselves here; at one point or another, we've all gotten a mini rush out of being the one 'in the know'. We've bonded with others over it. We've done our research to put together the story. Thinking about it now, it all seems so silly.
Why do we feel the need to play CSI so badly when we could simply go straight to the source? If you're not close enough to the person to have the balls to ask them the specifics yourself, then in my very humble opinion, you don't necessarily have the right to know that piece of information in the first place.
Last night I got a little FYI from a friend that some "inquiring minds" had cornered her, seeking personal life information of mine.
**Side note- I have the most amazing friends. The degree of respect and commitment that exists between us is one of my most cherished life possessions.**
I'd officially become a bit of home-grown party gossip. Yeehaw.
But here was the amazing part; I didn't really care. Truthfully, if this had happened a year ago...heck, if this had happened 6 months ago...my stomach would have instantly been in a gigantic knot. I would have began a downward spiral, wondering what others had said or thought. I would have probably even stressed enough to shed a few tears.
But after talking it out with my friend and taking a few deep breaths I actually felt completely at peace. I had also just come from an amazing meditation session, so maybe that little bit of zen helped me to process the information more gently :) "Alrighty. Let me adjust the existing load on my conscience to make room for one more..."
People will always talk. People will be curious. People will feel it's their right to know the details of your private life...and their right to decide whom to share these details with. It's human nature.
And that's OK. I officially let go and release the need to control this. I officially take the stance that while being present and invested in a personal growth period, the opinions of others should not (and will not) even be a blip on my radar. And I say this from the kindest part of my heart.
If I'm honest, I think the part that stung me a little was the fact that someone believed I was going through a very specific difficult time and instead of reaching out to me to say "hey Trish...everything OK? How are you?", they approached someone they knew was close to me to try and dig up the facts instead. And truthfully it wasn't coming from a notoriously malicious person or anything like that. At all. I'm not angry with them in the slightest. It was coming from someone I would be happy to chat with. Mostly it was just social sensationalism. A curious need to confirm or deny via a trusted source. It bums me out a little that this is how we tend to work.
It's difficult not to gossip. When I think about how much of my conversational day is spent discussing others I feel pretty guilty. Though 95% of those discussions truly do not come from a judging place (95% because no one is perfect), I know I can be much better about minding my own business. Much, much better.
Moving forward I'd like to be better about this. I'd like to recognize and admit when a conversation has turned to an unnecessary degree of 'gossip'. And then I'd like to cease the discussion. In 2011 and beyond.
Well, thanks for reading. I feel better putting it down in words.