Not infrequently, long-term happiness requires you to give up something that brings happiness in the short term. A good example? Gossip. When people gossip, they generally criticise other people, mostly for violating social and moral codes! Despite its bad reputation, gossip plays an important social role by reinforcing community value: it makes people feel closer to each other, it unifies people who plays by the rules, and it exposes misbehaviour.
Interesting fact: both men and women prefer to gossip to women, because women are more satisfying listeners. But although gossip may serve an important social function and it’s certainly fun, it’s not a very nice thing to do- and I always felt bad after a ‘gossipy’ conversation, even though I enjoyed it at the time, It wasn’t until I tried to stop gossiping that I realised how much, I did, in fact, gossip! I don’t consider myself mean spirited, and it was sobering to realise how often I said something I shouldn’t. I also learned an important reason not to say critical things about other people: ‘spontaneous trait transference”. Studies show that because of this psychological phenomenon, people unintentionally transfer to me the traits I ascribe to other people. So if I tell Brenda that Olivia is arrogant, unconsciously Brenda associates that quality with me! On the other hand if I say that Olivia is brilliant or hilarious, I’m linked to those qualities………..go figure! What I say about other people sticks to me – even when I talk to someone who already knows me. So I do well to say only good things.
Be happy! x