I was taking a tablet today. It was tiny, I thought, how can something so tiny make such a huge difference to how I feel. It was a Zolmitriptan, anti-migraine tablet. I take daily preventers but they are becoming less effective and I seem to need Zomig (trade name) tablets more often.
It got me thinking about size. A pinch of salt makes food taste delicious. Too much and it is vile. Certain things in small doses are medicinal, but in larger doses are poisonous.
Have you ever thought about gossip? I don’t mean talking about situations to other people. What I am talking about is when one person says to another something like:
‘A lot of people have told me that you are causing trouble.’
‘Two or three people say you have been saying…’
But they won’t say who. Or even be very specific about the ‘trouble.’
You see tackling something like that is like fighting smoke. How can you counter that? What can you say to a disembodied ‘somebody’ or unspecified ‘trouble.’
I have been in a situation like that. Two people who should have known better sat down with me and took turns launching at me with sentences like the above. I reasonably asked, ‘who are they and can I speak to them to find out what I can do to put it right.’ The answer I got was, ‘they feel too awkward about it.’
Not too awkward to complain to someone else. Not too awkward to gossip about me behind my back. Then these two men did not feel too awkward to challenge me about an issue I could do nothing about, raised by people they would not tell me about.
Why is that so bad? Because if you want to accuse someone of something, do it to it their face. Or at least sit down with a non biased third party and discuss it with them. I am not talking here of violence or sexual assaults. Obviously in those cases the victims need protecting from their attackers.
The issue here in my case, as I later found out, was that these people didn’t like me. It was a personality clash. We cannot get on with everyone. They found my style difficult, my personality. I know, I thought I was wonderful too. It was at a job I had some years ago and the people making accusations against me did so to my bosses. To my face they acted as if there was no problem.
In the situation I have described I found that it ruined my ability to continue in that job. I didn’t know who it was who had a problem with me. I could not work for bosses who dealt with issues that way. I left that job even though I was having great success at it. Gossip ruins relationship because it destroys trust. The job of a manager is to make sure people can work together and do a good job. Not encourage and stir up gossip. These managers told me that they encouraged their workers to complain to them about others. Unbelievable, but true.
The tongue is small, but can be very destructive. In the Bible James says that very thing. He equates it to a spark causing a forest fire.
Why talk of this now? Because I am aware that social media is rife with destructive comments about people. Anonymity somehow enables people to be much harsher and meaner than they would ever be in real life. Their comments are so destructive. The odd small word here and there, left as a comment or posted as a feed will have such a powerful effect on the people it is aimed at. The recipient has no recourse to sit down and chat it through with their accuser. It is gossip, destructive and harmful.
Words are able to build up or tear down. I encourage us all at this difficult time to choose our words carefully. Build each other up. Encourage, care for, show gentleness, understanding and love in what we all say. Words can be good and helpful, let’s make sure we use ours well.
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