The Fifteenth Life Lesson: Speak Mindfully

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Dear Bella,
A long time ago, I had a colleague told me that she hated gossiping because she didn’t like to talk about things that may or may not be true. And it will only make her more negative so why bother. I can’t agree more.

Gossiping is an ego-based behavior. People usually gossip about someone who have different qualities from themselves. When they gossip, they are talking about their opinions and judgements about the others. We usually hardly know a person completely. Hence, our opinions can at most be part of the truth or totally flawed.

However, when people gossip or in other words express negative opinions about a person, they usually try to make themselves sound convincing by looking for more evidence. As the conversation gets more exciting, people start reinforcing the ideas of each other. One negative or awkward quality becomes the total identity of the subject.

Most people find gossiping harmless and even entertaining. Gossiping may make us feel superior for a short time by putting the others down. Therefore it can be addictive. But negativity is pervasive. Gossiping causes serious mental pollution in a community. It spreads the seeds of arrogance, jealousy, anger and suspicion instead of the seeds of empathy and compassion. As the ego grows stronger, people who gossip will become more selfish and lonely. They may even think that they are the righteous victims and wonder why the whole world has wronged them. But in fact they have created a bitter world for themselves.

So when we speak, be mindful, say only nice words or else be silent. Stop looking for problems to fix or finding faults in the others. Focus on the present moment and learn from every person you meet. Life is more exciting with a heart full of gratitude than one filled with scorn.

May mindfulness be with you,
Mom

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