How Powerful Women Handle Gossip

Have you ever stopped to notice the kinds of conversations you and your friends are having? I have one friend, for example, who is a movie buff. She is always singing songs and quoting movies. She is known to be the movie quoter. I have another who is known to start up random conversations with strangers; a witty quality many of us laugh about and admire. I have another acquaintance that always has something bad to say about a different friend, a new drama, or a strong opinion or complaint about a stranger, celebrities, or coworkers. It's gossip, and gossip is often disguised as venting, which seems rather acceptable in our culture.

“Oh I just need to vent.”

I’ve heard that a thousand times.

I’ve said it a thousand more.

Let’s just be honest. If someone in your life is negatively discussing all the other people in their life to you, they ARE discussing you and your faults with others.  If you are tagging along for the ride, you are associated with the gossip. You may even be contributing.

Heart check time. 

If you find yourself placing judgement or complaining about others, it may be time to give yourself a heart check.  Complaining, comparing, and constant negativity is an overflow of the heart. What you can’t stand in her, it’s somehow a reflection of you.

Powerful women build up.

When you truly feel confident and at peace with yourself, you will find it less necessary to start conversations about others. When you know what you stand for, you will be able to walk away, or even end conversations that tear other women down. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be the kind of woman who shines a light on the good parts of other women, or the bad?”

You have a choice and you have the power.

If you find yourself in the midst of a gossip conversation, your character and reputation is being shaped. Even if you are not the “main culprit,” if you are engaged in listening to the gossip, laughing, or agreeing, you are associated. Fortunately, you are not a limp fish. You are a strong woman with love. And love is truth in action.

You have the power to change the conversation!

You have the power to choose compassion over judgement.

You have the power to speak wisdom.

You have the power to speak life, or not speak at all.

You have the power to step away and have better conversations!

You can do hard things with love!

YOU and only you are in control of the conversations you have and the way you feel.

If you find that you are the one choosing to “vent” a lot, just ask yourself, “what does it say about me that I feel this way?” Choose to reflect, think, and speak in love.


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5 ways to know if you're a safe person

With a history of gossip, betrayal, and codependency in friendship, becoming a safe person has been a journey.  

"I’ve burned through best friends like cheap running shoes..."

...and tossed people behind before ever evaluating my own behavior. I’ve discussed before how I have been a bad picker, but I’ve also not been very safe. Becoming safe is work.  Lots of trial and error and forgiveness. Through reading books, blogs, and talking with my counselor on the subject, I have come up with 5 ways to know whether I am a safe person or not.

Because before you can start eliminating people from you life, you always always have to ask yourself,

“am I safe?”

5 Ways to know if you are a Safe Person:

1. You’re true to your word

    -you choose integrity over ease

    -you are honest in the big and the small; you refrain from the occasional “white lie,” even when it would make things easier

    -your yes means yes, and your no means no (aka, you do what you say you will + know your own limitations.)

2. You welcome personal growth

    -you're open to constructive criticism

    -you are willing to change behavior when it is hurting someone

    -you are not defensive when someone expresses their feelings

    -you invite the truth about yourself, asking perspectives of trusted, loving companions.

3. You're able to be vulnerable and seen for who you are

    -you open up to people and show them the real you, not just the you that you desire people to see

    -you have people in your life who know the hard stuff going on

    -you're able to reciprocate sharing and are not just the listening ear or advice giver

    -you can ask for help

    -flattery and gossip are no longer a means for connection

4. You are able to have hard conversations

    -you have the courage to confront real issues

    -you are honest about your feelings when necessary

    -you don’t “spare” people and secretly hold a grudge

    -you can discern between picking a fight and a constructive conversation

 

5. You give grace

 -you can give grace to yourself

 -you can give grace to others

-you can ask for forgiveness AND receive it

-you refrain from judgement and assumptions

A safe person is a mature person. I don't believe everyone is safe 100% of the time. I slip up. You will probably slip up.  It doesn't make you unsafe to slip up. Just practice #5 and get back to it.

 

Here are two resources I love if you want to go deeper on the topic:

Boundaries

Brene Brown's Anatomy of Shame talk


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