Rumors and Gossip Versus The Truth

Submitted by on Tuesday, February 19, 2008No Comments

Rumors, Gossip, and the TruthWhat do rumors and gossip have to do with the truth? What if the rumor or the gossip is based in truth? What if the rumor is true altogether? Is it then okay to continue gossiping or relaying the rumor? “It is the truth, after all.”

Rumors and Truth

I have a pet peeve. People who love to decry “the truth” as if it’s some grand statement of fact they need to educate you about. And of course, I’m hearing Jack Nicholson’s great, “You can’t handle the truth!” from the movie A Few Good Men in my background mind noise as I type this. :)

But if you recall that movie, he was shouting this from the witness box in court after being involved in a cover up of death in the military. His perspective was off and he was out of his mind. Or was it? I remember thinking as I watched that scene that he was right. People often can’t handle certain truth and is why denial and illusion exist, but that’s for a different time.

A Truth or The Truth or Lie

There’s difference between A Truth and The Truth, and it’s the THE Truth I often hear thrown about as carelessly as I hear people throwing about “Eternity.” People who have zero or an unthinking concept of either seem to be the ones throwing it about the most. I’m sure you’ve heard something similar: “Well, there must be a kernel of truth or it wouldn’t be a rumor.”

Let me answer that with a, “No.”

Bearing false witness, which even made it as a commandment in the Bible, has been such a thorn for people and in community that God had put it on tablets according to myth. Perjury is an offense for lying on a person. Then we have slander and libel as well. So since time and people and community have existed, people have lied about other people and have been victimized by rumors, gossip, malicious verbal attack, and all other sordid sorts of oral orations. But those are easy to sort out when we say, “Oh they are just lies.”

Rumors and Gossip Versus Truth

Recently I had the fortune of reading Ron C. Baker Sr’s Rumors: The Ugly Side of Small Towns and Smaller Minds, in which he details his unfortunate and ugly experience of being a victim of a vicious rumor in his small town.

It was fortunate because, although his rumor was untrue, it got me thinking about lessons I had learned of those rumors or the gossip that occurs that can be justified by being “based in truth.”

In Ron’s situation, the rumor was that he had AIDS. For the record, although I think this is highly unimportant for the purposes of this rumors and gossip discussion, Ron does not have AIDS. This is however, most important for everyone to know regarding Ron’s peace of mind so I want to make that clear. The first thing that came to mind was, “Well what if he did have AIDS? That would still be unacceptable to turn that into gossip or make a rumor of it.” Look at some of the thought processes this poor man endured…

The problem is, how do I combat this rumor. Do I have to have an HIV test and have the results published in the local paper? that seems to be a little extreme, but i have thought about it. Do i just forget about it and wait for it to run its course? I just can’t do that, because it is already showing signs of spreading and i think i have already seen its potential damage. I think that this thing is just getting wound-up, and I don’t know what to do.

Rumors and Gossip Based in Malice Despite Truth

I wrote a series a while ago entitled “Words can Harm. Words can Heal.” and in part 5, I address Gossip from a multi-dimensional angle and I encourage everyone who is the victim of Gossip to read it. I think it is very practical, beneficial, and most of all, it’s based on my own painful experiences and healing from those experiences.

I am a recovering alcoholic, codependent, self-loather, and eating-disordered. This means that I was often at the whim of low self-esteem. I did not really have a “safe place” at home – because my home life was often in non-specific turmoil and my school life, being my social outlet of safety, was turned upside down due to a rumor.

It was an ugly rumor; One of the ugliest I’d ever heard and it was about me. The point of the rumor is not really that it was untrue, because what if it had been true? Much like the rumor about Mr. Baker, it matters very little that he really does not have AIDS – because what if he had? Would it then be excusable for the people with the small minds to continue with his violation? With lack of kindness and compassion?

If the rumor of me had been true, would then it be morally okay that people continue to gossip and participate in the rumor?

In the words of the Master shaken up a little…” Why not remove the plank from your own eye before attempting to try to discuss the grain of sand in someone else’s eye?”

Those of you who are without your own faults, foibles, or dis-ease, then please go ahead and discuss someone else’s. [The conundrum, of course, being that if you *are* faultless, you would not partake in such egregious acts.]

Confusing Mind Activity with SelfRumors and Gossip May Lead to Death

I like to think of the term “character assassination” when I think of rumors and gossip. It’s easy to murder someone’s character who is not around to defend themselves. It always tells me more about the person speaking than about the object of the rumor.

Gossip and rumors can be true.

At the heart, it matters little whether it’s true or not. We’re all human and entitled to mistakes, lapses in judgment, self-deprecating errors, and yes, even getting sick with a virus. But it’s not your truth to tell. And if you can’t understand why it’s not your truth to tell then I would know straight away that you’re so scared of your own truth, so scared that someone is going to notice your humanity, that you point the finger at others to detract from you.

Spreading Painful Rumors and Gossip Has Consequences

The universe is a perfect equalizer and it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in karma or metaphysics. Even if the person you are engaging in rumors and gossip with, doesn’t know yet, the universe will know your fear as you gossip. The universe will know your fear as you spread a vicious rumor.

The universe will know your fear as you even try to dress it up as *concern.* The universe will not care whether you are speaking of the other person’s truth as opposed to a lie. It will not care because as far as you and karma is concerned, it it all about you; Your motives, your attention, your intention, your fears, your truth.

Karma doesn’t care whether the rumor is true. So when you try to dress up your gossip and okie-doke it’s viability and necessity with “it’s true so I can say it” ~ I can only hope that you remember this your truth that you’d have preferred to not be the subject of public fodder comes back upon your own doorstep.

What Others Think of You is Not Your Business

On the other side of the coin, from the victim’s perspective, this is another truth that what others think of you is not your business. Although the players in your malicious rumor will have their karma, you still need to remember who you are if you want to keep sanity.

And of course, we address each issue individually on how best to deal with suspected gossip or rumors, but in the actuality of your living here on this planet among people and the living of your life, what others think, say, or believe about your ‘character’ is NOT your business.

My brain is my business and all the contents therein. Your brain is your business and all the contents therein. No one living in any sane reality can argue this statement.

And even better that when you begin giving credit to individuals to own their own minds and beliefs, you may be happily surprised to learn that the very people you value would NOT believe or engage in such reindeer games. And if some people DO believe or make a judgment or otherwise embroil or enmesh you into a psychological twist of what THEY think your character is ‘really’ about do you want them around anyway? Would you want such a producer of chaos and confusion in your circle of trust? If yes, run to my Codependent Recovery Page and hurry!

Final Words on Rumors and Gossip

Harmless gossip can be a social experience in which we bond with others. And harmless statements can accidentally turn to gossip or rumor. And rumors are nothing more than what gossip produces that may take on a larger than life meaning for the victim of it.

In the following, this is an example of a benign misunderstanding.

I say I dislike Anna’s hat on me – that I borrowed – and Mark overhears me and tells Brittany, “I didn’t know Samsara disliked Anna’s cat?” He meant no harm by that. He got a word wrong and he was just sharing with his girlfriend a statement he thought I said as a matter of question. Brittany loves Anna’s cat and is not thinking it’s any big deal, as she’s petting the cat later and tells Anna that “I’m so sorry Samsara doesn’t like your cat. Maybe she is allergic?”  Anna remembers when I was sneezing last week while at her apartment (I had a cold.) and assumes Brittany’s fact and also uses her deductive powers to understand I am allergic to now, not even just her cat, but to all cats. Brittany begins putting the poor kitty in her bedroom when I visit and also spends many minutes vacuuming and cleaning before I come over until thankfully I, with my astute powers of observation ask, “Why isn’t Kitty out here playing with us?” Brittany was very happy to learn this because she was fearful our relationship may have to dwindle due to her cleaning exhaustion.

And had I not nipped that in the bud, a rumor that I disliked cats could have swept the nation, causing heartache and problems for cat lovers everywhere. :) But not all misunderstandings OR rumors are so benign or innocent. Some people need an adrenaline kick and seek chaos and confusion. Others like to see how much power they have in weaving fantastic tales of allure and intrigue. And I certainly fall into this category when I write sometimes, though, should my words ever cause misery or pain upon another by way of malicious rumoring or grandiose gossiping, I should hope to know my error and clear it up immediately!

And still others… Those fearful personalities who must knock people down in order to feel superior…perhaps the saddest of cases.

Intentional destruction of another’s character is a blight by people who, as of yet, not met who THEY really are.

Perhaps karma will assist them.


Rumors you hear of others are as believable as they hear of you

Browse Books about Living in Integrity

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