What is gossip? How is it harmful to my recovery?
Spencer and Laurel discuss gossip and how it can hinder our path to recovery. We share our personal experiences, elaborating on how we used to perceive gossip and how this perception has changed. We lay emphasis on the power of silence, restraining oneself from engaging in gossip, and talk about relevant situations from our work lives. We conclude by acknowledging that refraining from gossip can be a lifelong struggle but a resultant increase in authenticity in relationships makes it worth it.
In our conversation, these three things emerge:
Harmful effects of gossip: Gossip can be harmful, both to individuals and to relationships. Damage is caused by spreading rumors, engaging in speculation, and talking about others without their presence. We highlight the importance of being mindful of the information we share and the impact it can have on others.
The importance of boundaries: We must set boundaries when it comes to gossip. We can recognize when conversations are turning towards gossip and actively choose not to engage in or perpetuate such discussions. Tools we can use to avoid gossip are silence and self-restraint.
The value of personal reflection and growth: We express the personal growth and self-reflection that can occur through practicing the tools and principles of the Al-Anon program. We can learn to navigate gossip and gossip-like situations by reflecting on our own behavior, practicing empathy and compassion, and focusing on personal responsibility rather than blaming others. We are constantly learning from our experiences and striving to improve our interactions with others.
Readings and Links
Laurel chose readings from Courage to Change, January 25 and October 26.
She also pulled in the concept of “hotwiring intimacy” using gossip from Brené Brown's book Braving the Wilderness.
Spencer was inspired and deeply affected by a couple of podcast episodes:
- Fragmented to Whole, episode 229, “Why I Think of Gossip as an Anti-Intimacy Campaign”
- This American Life, episode 809, “The Call“
Nancy was inspired by the book Incurable Hope by Lisa Gennosa, and by hearing her speak.
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