A coaching session I recently led caused me to do some thinking about how we are addicted as a culture to gossip and drama. Because we are a culture that seems to love celebrity, we may spend more of our day gossiping about Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, or Anna Nicole than we do being deliberate about having the life we really want.
I’m certainly not here to judge those who are addicted to drama; I do understand the appeal of diverting ourselves from our often mundane, or even troubled, personal lives. But I do think it might be helpful for all of us to become conscious of how much time we are giving over to gossiping and participating in cheap drama, as opposed to the rich dramatic tapestry of life that is available to all of us.
Dramas in our personal lives that are based on unkindness and exaggerated negativity can also be highly addictive. While these dramas may drain us on some level, they can charge us, and we end up operating on borrowed or false energies. (Much like drinking a big cup of coffee.) In Alan H. Cohen’s book Why Your Life Sucks and What You Can Do About It, he writes, “We have been so conditioned to believe that life is based on drama [cheap drama], that the notion of a drama-free life is radical, even heretical. You might even feel insulted by the suggestion that you have a role in the dramas you experience. But it is so. You are powerful enough to create any life you choose. If you enjoy your dramas, then admit it and carry on in high style. If your dramas are making your life suck, then it’s time to look at alternatives.”
While participating in gossip about those we know personally, the potential to do damage may be greater than what we realize. In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes of the importance being impeccable with one’s word. One idea to implement about gossip in one’s personal life is to make a pact with (former!) gossip partners not to gossip anymore. One could even put some money or a free lunch on the table to motivate the commitment to be impeccable! Even gossiping about those we don’t know might be painful to them somehow; certainly it is painful to us. In our quest to be kinder and gentler in our lives, giving up gossip could be an amazing gift to the world.
Let’s all try to get conscious and be deliberate in giving up the cheap drama in life, not living our lives through celebrities and using them as reference points for our reality, and giving up life-draining gossip!