Talking sh*t is an unfortunate, needless, soul-sucking habit many of us have almost unknowingly developed.
For the sake of highlighting the true stench of this lousy act, I will not sugarcoat or disguise it in euphemistic terms. Rather, I'll stick to calling it what it is: sh*t.
The sh*t talk was always there.
While growing up, even casual dinnertime conversation 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.”
And what about the gossip in high school hallways, ricocheting from locker to locker? Need I mention magazines? We are literally surrounded by crap.
We have learned to utilize sh*t talk as a conversation filler.
It's a perverted sort of emotional therapy, a defense mechanism in which we perch on an illusion of power, a time waster and even an instrument for connecting with others.
We talk sh*t so casually, we often don't realize we’re doing it. It is a hateful, nasty habit, supported by insecurity and fear. It's 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. (“The person will never hear it, so what does it matter, right?”)
If the tables are turned, and the tight shirt is on your apparently unworthy body, those words are suddenly 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 there’s no harm done if you don’t know the person, if he or she will never find out what you said or if you could care less if he or she finds out.
But, sh*t talk says a lot more about "the talkers" than the people we talk about.
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 focuses our energy on living our lives through pessimistic, judgmental perspectives.
Why have we succumbed to a culture of belittling banter?
Have you ever stopped and asked why you concern yourself with other people’s business, besmirching their reputations, shaming their actions or judging their characters?
Who cares who did what and when with whom? Why do we choose to spend our precious time, energy and power bringing others down in hushed whispers and superior tones?
When we stop and ask ourselves these questions, we illuminate what an absurd waste of time and energy sh*t talking is.
Know this: No amount of sh*t talking will make you a better, happier or more likable person.
If it does in fact make you “feel good,” there are likely deeper personal issues hidden beneath the negative banter.
If this is true, you should shift your focus with the intention to resolve your own problems.
The happiest people I know do not talk sh*t. Rather, happy people infect others with their joy.
Happy people don’t occupy their glorious mind spaces 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 once told me, “People who talk crap lack purpose.”
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 toward you, and away from the business of others.
You’re so busy kicking ass and showing sass that sh*t 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 it was our frustration, jealousy, anger, fear or ignorance talking.
In fact, I think that’s what sh*t talking is really all about: 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-sh*t talk, I ask myself if and how that person’s business affects me. Nine and a half times out of 10, 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 problems. Talking about people behind their backs will neither solve yours nor make you any better off.
Like attracts like, and negative words attract negative feelings and experiences. So, choose a positive voice, and cut the crap.