Drama is an item that most of us would like to avoid in our lives. Unfortunately, it seems extremely difficult to avoid. In my own life, recently, I have been meditating on this dilemma and have recorded some of my personal revelation that will hopefully keep my future woes at a minimum. My intent in sharing is that you might gain insight from mistakes and personal experience.
Keep it secret, keep it safe
My first personal insight is never place yourself in the situation in the first place. If you have something no one needs to know, then don’t tell. It is unfair to burden any neighbor with one of your secrets. I mean simply, if you don’t want the neighborhood to know, then don’t tell your neighbor. Eventually the truth will come out. It may be through ill intention, the “exception” rule (“she” wouldn’t mind me telling you), or like when Lucy’s sister Anne outs her secret with an absent minded blurt. Misfortune and shame now rest on their heads. However, how can you hold them in dishonor when you yourself clearly could not do? If you can not keep your very own secret is it really honest to expect someone else too?
Resist the inner urge…
It doesn’t take long when involved in any social settings to hear the whispers of gossip. Resist urges to ask for more details and walk away from the group. Think of the Proverbs that says a fire goes out for lack of fuel. If someone says to you, “pray for Janice,” a simple positive response will suffice. If you know Janice is ill then maybe a quick “how is she doing?” may be appropriate but in most cases if we are honest any question more is merely digging for ‘dirt.”
Believe me, when I maintain that I have no perfection in this area. Indeed, this article is in fact, a determined effort on my part to commit to my own memory the points I am making. Oversharing, I am convinced, is my charism. In the right group of people I can sink my own battleship in order to make a meaningful connection with others.
Unfortunately, we find our presence in the midst of toxic people that can’t wait to collect more gossip. They are only using a disordered means to achieve community. These “communities” explode and come back together over and over. Break the cycle and resist the urge to offer or ask for more information then you need.
Remember, be wise with yourself and others. Don’t place the burden of secrecy on people who are dealing with troubles of their own. Life is too short to lose every friendship by placing a burden of the knowledge of good and evil on others. We’ve all made mistakes in our relationships. We are called to give and receive mercy. The Lord’s Prayer remind us that we are forgiven as we forgive others.
Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but those who restrain their lips do well.Proverbs 10: 19 NABRE