It is an unfortunate, needless, soul-sucking habit many of us have developed almost unknowingly. For the sake of highlighting the true smelliness of this lousy act, I will not sugarcoat or disguise it in euphemistic terms, and rather stick to calling it what it is: some shit!
The shit talk abounds. Think about how casual dinner-time conversation while growing up took the form of minding the neighbor’s business, with comments like, “Did you hear about so-and-so’s divorce?! I just knew they weren’t going to last” (Well La-Dee Fricken’ Da!). And what about the gossip along high school hallways, ricocheting from locker to locker? Need I mention magazines? We are literally surrounded by crap.
We have learned to utilize shit-talk as a conversation-filler, a perverted sort of emotional therapy, a defense mechanism, stilts upon which we perch an illusion of power, a time waster, and even an instrument for connecting with others. We talk shit so casually that often times, we do not realize we’re doing it. It is a hateful, nasty habit supported by insecurity and fear, insidiously reinforced by nearly everyone around us.
We often think our words are empty, meaningless and weightless, but they’re not. Consider how you would feel if you heard someone saying negative, hateful words about you. When someone else is “too fat to be wearing that shirt”, you have the power to judge, “and they’ll never hear it so what does it matter, right?” Tables turned, and the tight shirt is on your apparently unworthy body, those words suddenly take on heftier weight and are invigorated with new meaning. Our words have a rippling energy in this world. Remember how you started talking crap in the first place; you picked up on the negative remarks and vibes around you and soon enough you became part of it.
You might also think that there’s no harm done if you don’t know the person, if they’ll never find out what you said, or if you could care less if they find out. But shit talk says a lot more about ‘we the talker’ than the people we talk about.
Sure, saying mean things about others can hurt their feelings in ways we often lack the necessary compassion to recognize. But it also impacts those around us, and most of all, ourselves. Talking bad about other people translates to a focus on negativity and living life through a pessimistic, judgmental perspective.
Why have we succumbed to a culture of belittling banter? Have you ever stopped and asked why you concern yourself with the other people’s business, besmirching their reputation, shaming their actions, or judging their character? Who CARES who did what and when with whom?! Why do we choose to spend our precious time, energy and power to bring others down in hushed whispers and superior tones?
When we stop and ask ourselves these questions, we begin to illuminate shit talking in it’s true light as an absurd waste of time and energy. Know this: No amount of shit talking will make you a better, happier, more likable person. If it does in fact make you “feel good”, there are likely deeper personal issues hidden beneath the negative banter, upon which you should shift your focus, with the intention to resolve your OWN problems.
The happiest people I know do not talk shit. Rather, happy people liberally infect others with their joy– similar to the nearly uncontrollable manifestation of glitter, or herpes (oh, too far?).
Happy people don’t occupy their glorious mind space with other people’s crap because they are busy chasing their own dreams, setting their own goals, and directing their focus on matters of higher integrity.
My mentor/boss/angel once told me, “People who talk crap lack purpose”. Touche! If you have purpose, such as “to make Baltimore the happiest city” or “to globally spread joy to children”, you end up living with intention toward manifesting that purpose; your purpose becomes the filter for your life’s thoughts, decisions, actions, and speech. In effect, your mental energy is shifted towards YOU and away from the business of others. You’re so busy #kickingass and #showingsass that shit talk simply fails to maintain rhyme or reason in your world.
Perhaps when you called that girl a “bitch” or that tired, worn-down cashier a “rude, lazy, motherlovin’ butthole”, you thought you meant it in the moment. Perhaps when the heat of the moment subsides, or when we actually get to know a person’s story, we realize that it was our frustration, jealousy, anger, fear, or ignorance talking. In fact, I think that’s what shit-talking is really all about. Not the other person, but a reflection of our own inner crap. Recognize what is manifesting your negative thoughts into verbal sludge, and why.
Gossiping about others doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Like I said, it’s essentially become an unsavory habit that many of us don’t consciously recognize or acknowledge why or how we started it in the first place. While I am getting much better at refraining from partaking in the verbal manifestation of crap, I am still learning. On occasion, when I catch myself mid shit-talk, I ask myself if and how that person’s business affects me. Nine and-a-half times out of ten, it does not. Rather than dwelling, I do my best to verbally correct myself in the moment, reflect on why I said anything in the first place (sometimes I cannot figure it out), and aim to really think the next time I speak.
At the end of the day, we all have our own crap. Pointing out other people’s crap will not make yours go away, nor will it make you any better off. Like attracts like; negative words attracts negative feelings and experiences. So choose a positive voice and cut the crap!