Saturday, August 9, 2008


Gossip is pretty much the worst thing we can do. Ever. To anyone.

It destroys trust: if I talk about someone when they aren't there, how do I know you don't talk about me when I'm not there?

People judge each other: no matter how perfect we try to be, everyone judges things. Gossip is how we point out our judgments to each other and make them seem ok. So I hear a bit of gossip, say that Mary eats 3 donuts before bed every night. I judge that as unhealthy and a lack of self discipline. When I pass on the gossip, I pass on my judgment with it. So now people see Mary as unhealthy and undisciplined. That grows and grows and soon there is no one who doesn't judge Mary. It grows and becomes bigger and uglier and sadly, more fascinating to most people. Look at how it happens with celebrities: paparazzi stuff is basically just gossip with shiny pictures thrown in to make it even more irresistible. That stuff can ruin not just careers but lives. The same thing happens with regular gossip, the kind without glossy photos, the kind that takes place around a water cooler or during late night chats.

This isn't coming out right... I'll try again later. For now, just know that gossip is the most hurtful thing we can do to each other.

You Are Your Own Best Expert

I think that's just so important. Maybe THE most important thing, aside from not gossiping. Its also one of the hardest things, I think. Humans like control. We like to think we know what's best when for whom. He's drinking too much, he must stop. She doesn't wear the right clothes, I know what she should wear. They don't have the right philosophies, I know what they should believe. It makes things more comfortable to believe you know things for others; you feel in control and safe. Really though, we have no idea what's right for other people. Only they do. Maybe he drinks because its the only time he can relax, maybe she's comfortable in what she wears, maybe their philosophies work for them in ways we don't understand. The feeling out of control can be hard though. When I (I know, my pronoun use is inconsistent here) trust my friend to be his own best expert, I give up control. I can be supportive. I can be with him quietly in his process. I can be active when he asks me to be... but I am not in control of anything. When we see people we love hurting, this can be really hard. Our (or maybe just my?) first thought is generally to fix it, to get rid of the pain at whatever cost. But that's cheating our loved ones of the experience they need. The Universe/God is setting up for them what they need in order for them to become who they are meant to be. Every moment is perfect. Every moment is what's meant to be. Realizing this... remembering this in the face of great pain... is what makes it possible to relax and truly be there for someone.

...but its really hard sometimes...