What do rumors and gossip have to do with the truth? What if the rumor or the gossip is based in truth? What if the rumor is true altogether? Is it then okay to continue gossiping or relaying the rumor?
Recently I had the fortune of reading Ron C. Baker Sr’s Rumors: The Ugly Side of Small Towns and Smaller Minds, in which he details his unfortunate and ugly experience of being a victim of a vicious rumor in his small town.
It was fortunate because, although his rumor was untrue, it got me thinking about lessons I had learned of those rumors or the gossip that occurs that can be justified by being “based in truth.”
In Ron’s situation, the rumor was that he had AIDS. For the record, although I think this is highly unimportant for the purposes of this rumors and gossip discussion, Ron does not have AIDS. This is however, most important for everyone to know regarding Ron’s peace of mind so I want to make that clear. The first thing that came to mind was, “Well what if he did have AIDS? That would still be unacceptable to turn that into gossip or make a rumor of it.” Look at some of the thought processes this poor man endured…
The problem is, how do I combat this rumor. Do I have to have an HIV test and have the results published in the local paper? that seems to be a little extreme, but i have thought about it. Do i just forget about it and wait for it to run its course? I just can’t do that, because it is already showing signs of spreading and i think i have already seen its potential damage. I think that this thing is just getting wound-up, and I don’t know what to do.
I wrote a series a while ago entitled “Words can Harm. Words can Heal.” and in part 5, I address Gossip from a multi-dimensional angle and I encourage everyone who is the victim of Gossip to read it. I think it is very practical, beneficial, and most of all, it’s based on my own painful experiences and healing from those experiences.
I am a recovering alcoholic, codependent, self-loather, and eating-disordered. This means that I was often at the whim of low self-esteem. I did not really have a “safe place” at home - because my home life was often in non-specific turmoil and my school life, being my social outlet of safety, was turned upside down due to a rumor.
It was an ugly rumor; One of the ugliest I’d ever heard and it was about me. The point of the rumor is not really that it was untrue, because what if it had been true? Much like the rumor about Mr. Baker, it matters very little that he really does not have AIDS - because what if he had? Would it then be excusable for the people with the small minds to continue with his violation? With lack of kindness and compassion?
If the rumor of me had been true, would then it be morally okay that people continue to gossip and participate in the rumor?
In the words of the Master shaken up a little…” Why not remove the plank from your own eye before attempting to try to discuss the grain of sand in someone else’s eye?”
Those of you who are without your own faults, foibles, or dis-ease, then please go ahead and discuss someone else’s. [The conundrum, of course, being that if you *are* faultless, you would not partake in such egregious acts.]
I like to think of the term “character assassination” when I think of rumors and gossip. It’s easy to murder someone’s character who is not around to defend themselves isn’t it? It always tells me more about the person speaking than about the object of the rumor.
Gossip and rumors can be true. At the heart, it matters little whether it’s true or not. We’re all human and entitled to mistakes, lapses in judgment, self-deprecating errors, and yes, even getting sick with HIV. But it’s not your truth to tell. It’s just not. And if you can’t understand why it’s not your truth to tell then I would know straight away that you’re so scared of your own truth, so scared that someone is going to notice your humanity, that you point the finger at others to detract from you.
So be careful what you say about another person. The universe is a perfect equalizer and it matters not if you don’t believe this. The universe will know your fear as you gossip. The universe will know your fear as you spread a vicious rumor.
The universe will know your fear as you even try to dress it up as *concern.* The universe will not care whether you are speaking of the other person’s truth as opposed to a lie. It will not care because as far as you and karma is concerned, it it all about you; Your motives, your attention, your intention, your fears, your truth.
Karma doesn’t care whether the rumor is true. So when you try to dress up your gossip and okie-doke it’s viability and necessity with “it’s true so I can say it” ~ I can only hope that you remember this article when your truth that you’d have preferred to not be the subject of public fodder comes back upon your own doorstep.
Then perhaps you can begin your path to healing as well.
Another version of this article appears on Newsvine: Rumors, Gossip, and the Truth
Related or Referenced …
- Words can Harm. Words can Heal.
- Words can Harm. Words can Heal. - Gossip
- The Four Agreements: Four simple agreements to transform your communication
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