THE BLOG
01/27/2014 12:38 pm ET Updated Mar 29, 2014

Gossip: Weeds vs. Vines

Gossip, (for those who do not know) means (yes, I'm pulling out a definition from the Oxford American Dictionary), "casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true." Key words, "not confirmed as being true."

Gossip is a luxury. If you have the time and the energy to gossip, you have too much time. People who trade secrets, who share information that is unnecessary, who talk about things that are other people's personal, professional, and intimate information don't have much else to say, or really much to do. Even worse, the second you defend yourself against gossip, you are actually defending yourself against nothingness, because as the definition says it is untrue. You are being dragged down by the resentment and anger that other people are projecting onto you, and most of the time it is because they are dealing with inner demons they have not yet dealt with. The more you get into the wars of gossip, the more you tangle yourself into a black hole of energy sucking.

Unfortunately, the media world feeds off of gossip. Magazines publicize gossip, there are thousands of Facebook statuses posting about a teenager in prison, who happens to be famous, or someone who decided to twerk on stage. We criticize and destroy leaders who make hard pressed decisions, "All press is good press" is the motto and yet the world loves bad press. The world loves a fallen hero, a broken up relationship, a cheater and that's what sells. Even more so, the Internet gave us the power to tell our own stories however we want to tell them. One YouTube video could share the most beautiful story about an extremely talented musician who found their way to a brilliant music career, and another YouTube video could be bullying a young 13-year-old girl. The freedom of speech has led to a dangerous terrain of the unknown. Anything can be said, which is remarkable, but also scary.

Perhaps the video of making fun of the 13-year-old girl didn't go viral, but if it went to 30 of her close friends in middle school, it is as if it went viral in her world, it is as if her world is over. When I was a teacher, I saw a lot of bullies, and as a student, I had to defend myself against a lot of bullies after being in three high schools in less than a year. I had to sit in two new cafeterias in one year, and I wrote myself a letter when I was 16, which stated, "No matter where I am, or where I go, I will never be afraid to be who I am." I realized at a young age that I can't listen to what other's think of me. Those who compliment you the most are usually those who are the first to insult you.

I recently received some wonderful advice from a mentor of mine. He said, "There is a difference between wanting to be liked and wanting to be respected, some people give up respect to be liked, you want to be respected, respect lasts much longer and makes much more of a difference than just being liked." I think that as we get older, we should become more kind, more cognizant of the way we spend our time, and more forgiving of ourselves and others. I also think we should be more honest, step into our truths no matter how ugly they are sometimes, own them, and admit to them. If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all. If you know of a truth that is ugly but not yours to tell, then it's not your truth. Rise above it, stay away from slander, from defamation, it does no one any good particularly the one who is spreading it. The more we run away from the truth, and spread gossip, the more we are creating a world that is contaminated.

Here is the funny thing about gossip, the truth always wins. I believe this. I'm not saying it's always as quick as spreading gossip. The truth takes longer, it is like a vine that spreads slowly but it lasts longer, and gossip is like a bunch of weeds that grow everywhere and anywhere it can, but in the end weeds die.

The next time someone comes up to you and says something negative about someone else out of nowhere, or you hear something that has absolutely nothing to do with you, instead of saying "tell me more," remember why that person is telling you this gossip. Every negative piece of information you get yourself involved in, every question you ask is planting another weed into a garden of field of rumors.