How much integrity do you have with your words? We have talked about being impeccable with your word which is generally a very powerful principle to live by. If we are not being impeccable with our words, it may be because we are involved in gossiping. The dictionary defines gossiping as casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. Often gossip is used to criticize someone’s social or moral values. It can be a way that community is built among groups of people bringing them closer as it reinforces community values.

But there is another reason to consider (besides being impeccable) if you want to participate in this action. It is called the spontaneous trait transference. Studies have shown that people who speak about others are often associated with having the traits that they are describing about another person. In other words, if you are talking about someone else’s character, unconsciously the person receiving the information will impart those traits upon you. This is true if you say something positive or negative to another person about someone else. What you say about others becomes something you now have imparted upon your own character. This includes those people that you are talking to that you know very well. So it might be correct when our mother said that we should only speak up if we have something nice to say. Spend your day today, being conscientious about what you say “about others”. It is a good exercise in taking inventory of your patterns and how you work towards connecting with others. Do you use negative words about others to build closeness to people? It may be time to step into speaking kindly and stopping the action of imparting judgment upon others through the use of gossip. The first step is to identify if you are a participant in this. The next step is to make choices that will be a win-win for all. Speak kindly.

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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