The Roots of Gossip-Part 2
If you want to feel significant, do something significant. Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
In the last issue, we identified the cause of gossip as the innate human desire to feel important. The antidote to gossip is to satisfy that urge to feel important by doing something important.
Life is full of opportunities to impact the world positively through deeds and words. No matter what your age or life situation, every one of you has the power to make the world a better place.
At the age of seventy-five, the widowed Mrs. Welthy Fisher started the Each One Teach One literacy program in India. Millions of Indians learned to read thanks to her. At the age of eleven, Cathy Weinert started an organization which distributes teddy bears to children suffering from cancer.
But one does not have to start a national organization to do something significant. Thanks to the ripple effect, every seemingly small good deed you do or kind word you say inspires others to do likewise, so that thousands of miles away and years later, a kind word or gesture you initiated may still be having an effect.
The following letter received by WCH is a good example of the ripple effect. The kind words spoken by a doctor to his patient inspired her first to speak kindly to the hospital staff, then to call the driver who had injured her, and finally, some three years later, to inspire her own son by the example of her self-transformation.
Four years ago, I was run down by a minivan going 25 mph. Amazingly, I wasn't dead or brain-damaged, but I was in Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco for the next 6 weeks.
The first good thing that happened was that my virtually destroyed right elbow was expertly reassembled by a wonderful orthopedist who stopped by nearly every day to check on my progress. His kind ways and words of encouragement helped me through the agony of my initial injuries and then many months of pain and physical therapy on the elbow. Those words continue to heal me to this day.
The second good thing was that I was bed-bound for weeks with multiple pelvic fractures. This gave me time to get acquainted with the staff who had to do virtually everything for me. This gave me a lot of time to think and to realize that kindness like that of my doctor was something they needed, too. It was no more than a few words of Russian to the woman who swept the floors, a few of Tagalog to several of the aides who were from the Philippines, and finding out bit-by-bit who they were as people.
The next good thing that happened was that, through the kindness of the hospital staff (especially my orthopedist), the great weight of anger I had carried all my life from the cruelty of my parents just fell away.
But to me, the best thing that happened was that after about six months, I realized I should phone the driver of that minivan and tell him I was all right, that I did not feel any anger toward him and that I knew he had made the same sort of dumb mistake many of us make when we get behind the wheel and are in a hurry. He seemed very relieved and said his family had been telling him his guilt over the accident was really eating him up. I told him that so many good things had happened to me because of that accident that he should not beat himself up about it.
As a postscript, one of my children has recently gone through a terrible trauma. I couldn't do much for him, because he lives far away, but I was able to talk with him by phone. He told me eventually that I had been a negative, angry, complainer in the past (which is true) but that the changes in my personality and my understanding and encouragement are what helped him get through his problems and turn his life around.
I feel so fortunate to have received the blessing of kind words from others, and even more fortunate that these have given me the realization of the importance of seeking opportunities to speak kindly to others.
Thank you for Words Can Heal. I believe there is no limit to the good your organization can do. Through being conscious of the impact of every word that comes out of our mouths, and trying to make all of those words ones of healing, we can change the world.
The most immediate effect of our kind words and actions is to bolster our sense of our own worth. Whereas gossip confers a spurious and transitory ego boost, kind words and actions make us feel significant in ways that can last a lifetime, as the following story shows:
I have been very blessed in my life, with a wonderful husband, children, and career. Whenever I ask myself, What did I ever do to deserve such blessing? I come up with only one truly noble, selfless action which I performed when I was a girl of eleven or twelve.
I was in day camp one summer. A girl in my bunk named Janet spoke with a lisp. The popular kids (of whom I was not one) used to make fun of Janet, imitating the way she spoke. Janet had no friends, including me, but my mother had always taught me, There but for the grace of God go I. So I thought it was cruel and horrible for these kids to be making fun of someone because of a speech impediment. Nevertheless, I didnt want to get on the bad side of the in crowd, so I stayed out of it.
One day, however, my sense of fairness got indignant. The in crowd was imitating Janet to her face. I walked right between Janet and these kids and gave them a tongue-lashing, telling them they were mean and heartless and missing the point if they thought they were any better than Janet just because they didnt have a lisp. Then I took Janets hand and defiantly walked off
The results of my valiant words were:
1. They left Janet alone for the rest of the summer.
2. I lost any chance I had of becoming part of the in crowd.
3. I had a sense of having done something truly noble and selfless, which, four decades later, remains with me to this day.
Whenever you want to feel significant, instead of gossiping, do something significant. Its effect on others and on yourself will go further than you can imagine.
Source: Brought to you by www.verticalresponse.com Visit www.WordsCanHeal.org for more ideas on how to heal with words. And spread the word! Send this message out today -- together we can make a difference!
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