The Negative Affects of Gossip

Gossip is like a cancer that spreads and kills as it goes! How do you stop it!

I once heard an interesting story told about gossip and I wanted to share it here with you as follows:

There once was woman who did not like what a certain pastor of her church  and what he would say to would say to her. One day the old man’s words were more than she could bear. It was the truth “BUT” it made her so angry that she really began to “butt”.  She went everywhere telling lies and evil stories about him. She tried very hard to turn all of the people against him with her terrible talk and gossip. But the more she talked the sadder she became.  At last she was very unhappy, and began to feel sorry for all the lies she had told.

Finally, in tears, the woman went to the pastor’s house to ask him to forgive her, “I have told so many lies about you,” she said, “please forgive me.”

The old man did not answer her for a long time. He seemed to be deep in thought and prayer. At last he said, “Yes, I will forgive you, but FIRST you must do something for ME.”

“What do you want me to DO?” she said, a little surprised.

“Come with me up to the bell tower and I will show you,” he said, looking straight into her eyes, “but first I need to get something from my room.”

When the pastor returned from his room, he carried a big feather pillow under his arm. The poor woman could hardly hide her surprise and growing curiosity.

The flustered woman could hardly keep from asking what the pillow was for, and why they were going up to the bell tower. However, she kept silent, and a little out of breath they finally reached the church bell tower.

The wind blew softly through the big open windows of the bell tower. From the tower, they could see far out into the countryside that stretched out beyond the village.

Suddenly, without saying anything, the pastor ripped open the pillow and dumped all of the feathers out of the window.

The wind and the little breezes caught the feathers and carried them everywhere:  Out on to the rooftops, into the streets, under cars, up into trees, out into the backyards where the children were playing, and even out to the big highway, and on and on farther still into the distance.

The pastor and the woman watched the feathers flutter away for some time. At last the old man turned to the woman and said, “Now I want you to go and pick up all of those feathers for me.”

“Pick up all of those feathers?” she gasped. “But that is impossible!”

“Yes, I know.” said the pastor. “Those feathers are like your lies about me. What you have started, you cannot stop, even if you are sorry. You may be able to tell a few people who you lied about me, but the winds of gossip have carried your lies EVERYWHERE. You can blow out a MATCH, but you cannot blow out the great forest fire that one match can START!

The Compliment of Criticism

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing” –Aristotle

Criticism is truly hard to take no matter how it is given.  There are however different types of criticism, constructive criticism that is meant to help you do your job better, usually administered by someone who would like to see you succeed in your work, and criticism given by a born critic.  Some people are plagued with a negative mindset and pretty much anything and everything will fail on the scale of their opinion.  They tend to thrive on negative thoughts, and if there is nothing bad going on, they are sure to invent it!

It is easy to grow defensive of our own work, after all you have spent a good amount of your personal blood, sweat and tears laboring away to accomplish something and then someone comes along and tears it all down with a comment.  The fact of the matter is, there is no way on earth you will ever be able to satisfy everyone, you can try hard at it, but if that is what you are attempting to do, prepare for great disappointment!  The best attitude to have when working on anything is to be ready and accept the fact from the beginning that you will be met with criticism.

The good news is, being criticized means that you are doing something!  Only those who do not do anything, never try anything, are too afraid to make any move are the only ones that never receive any criticism! So if you are being criticized, this could be a wonderful compliment, it means that you are going somewhere.  Criticizing can be due to many things, perhaps others are jealous of you and what you are able to accomplish, so in order to elevate themselves they will attempt to put you down.  They might just be chronic criticizers who have little or nothing else to do and therefore they have taken on this activity as their “profession”.  And yes there is the true friend who really would like to see you succeed and so he offers you a sincere criticism in order to help you to perfect what you are doing.

Leaders are usually subjected to a lot of criticism.  They are often in their position because of the fact that they are good leaders, but good or bad as they may be, because they are going places and doing things, they are the target of a lot of criticism!  You cannot desire leadership if you are afraid of being criticized, spoken bad about or eventually even hated by others.  This unfortunately comes with the job of a leader.  But a good leader will be open to this fact, be able to wade through the criticism, pick out what might be relevant and learn from it without being offended. If you are affected by criticism, do not seek out a leadership position!

I really do not look forward to election time, as despite the fact that debate is necessary in order to arrive to the solution in any matter, during the campaign stage there is so much senseless mudslinging on both sides of the aisle.  What those who tend to sling mud don’t take into consideration is:”he who throws dirt loses ground!” Most of the criticism is not constructive, if it were it would not just accentuate the obvious problem but rather clearly offer a solution.

So if you are a victim of criticism, cheer up, you may be doing something.  Just don’t let it get you down and to stop moving at all! Look at the criticism and try to evaluate whether it holds any possible point in truth and make any modifications that you deem necessary. We are all subject to the gossip of others, unfortunately that comes with life, just don’t let it be what influences your every decision!

How do you take criticism? Do you use it to make you better or allow it to  weaken you through feelings of failure?