“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Gossip makes me cringe inside. It’s unpleasant listening to it and there’s an uncomfortable, tangled energy present when someone is gossiping.

We’ve all done it: judging someone’s insides by their outsides; creating a story about a person we barely know or think we know well; explaining someone’s behaviors by assuming their personality; judging with a holier than thou attitude; having an opinion about someone based on their social media posts. The list goes on…

The truth here is simple: we have no idea what it’s like to be someone else. Of course, we all share commonalities and of course, people can be predictable. However, to assume anything about anyone else is misleading. We have no idea what world someone else has created in his or her own mind.

I consider myself lucky because people share their minds and hearts with me, so I can share a part of their world with them.

The gossip that is most insidious is the gossip inside our heads… the constant judging of things as good, bad, better, less than, weird, etc. What a painful inner world.

Imagine if we spent more time loving instead of judging; it’s not like we can change someone else’s life for them, though many of us constantly try to! The next time you come across someone gossiping, you may listen if you’d like, but see if you can allow yourself to be open to the idea that you are hearing one person’s perceptions and getting a glimpse into one person’s inner thinking stream, without allowing their thought stream to become yours.

Smiling or listening without partaking in gossip is a valuable skill.

When we judge someone’s insides by their outsides, we not only limit their magnificence; we limit ours, too.

If you want to partake in gossip, how about we change the tune a bit: let’s gossip about the good deed our neighbor did, the kind words our brother said, and the beauty someone else adds to your life.

In other words, instead of gossip, let’s give thanks instead.

Photograph by Matthew T Rader