While I’ve been working on decreasing or eliminating my time spent complaining, I have realized that another ugly conversation topic has started to show its horribly ugly head. I gossip. It’s funny that I spend so much time talking about other people when the reason that I don’t listen enough is because I’d rather talk about myself than about the person I’m talking to, but that’s the strange truth. You can’t make this stuff up, people.
I’m living alone for the first time in my life. Really living alone. I have a one-bedroom apartment. And I don’t really know any of my neighbors or anyone in my complex. And while that’s probably not the most advisable thing to do, it is helpful for many reasons. For one, it makes getting work done a lot easier when there aren’t a billion people who I want to talk to walking around me all the time. Second, it allows me to have one-person dance parties whenever I want. And three, it means that I spend a large portion of my day being silent.
Being silent for large portions of the day is really helpful to me. It keeps me from saying stupid things, which I tend to do a lot. And it means that I take more time to think about conversation topics when I do get the chance to talk to someone. And all of that is rather nice.
Recently, though I was spending time with a friend and I started gossiping, and I could feel my life get more stressful. My heart started to beat faster, and I started to get anxious, and I started to feel like I didn’t measure up to other people. Because that’s the thing about gossip. It always seems really comfortable and fun at the time, but it always ends up being just a horrible decision. Because gossiping is all about comparing yourself with others, I never come away from a gossip session feeling good about myself or feeling encouraged. Instead, I get worried because the subjects of my gossip either have lives that seem more put together than mine or are living far more interesting lives. So most of the time, after I’m done gossiping, I start to think “Geeze, I am so behind, and I am really uninteresting.” And no one wants to be a slacking and boring person.
The Bible teaches against gossip. I used to not understand that. I thought, what else would I talk about if I didn’t talk about other people? But then I realized these teachings were just as much about me as they were about other people. Sure, we shouldn’t gossip because it’s not very thoughtful to the subjects of our gossip, but we also shouldn’t gossip because it messes with our own heads. And since I’ve been reflecting on that, I’ve started to think that God is infinitely more intelligent than I give him credit for. Because here I am, a twenty-year-old who has lived a rather studious, thoughtful life, and I am just now realizing that gossip is bad. God knew it from the very beginning. That’s cray.