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Do No Harm – An Oath Not Just for Doctors

“Clinton Caught in Video!”

“Julia Roberts Secret Health Crisis?”

“Brad Pitt Relapsing?”

These are all headlines from the celebrity gossip magazine the National Enquirer. Most of us have heard of this paper, many of us read the headlines while waiting in line at the grocery store, and some of us have even bought the rag mag and read it cover to cover at home – though we loathe to admit it to others.

The publishers behind the National Enquirer make a fortune from selling gossip. But gossip isn’t only a commodity in and around Hollywood. A lot of gossip also gets spread around college campuses and some of us are the cause.

Gossip is a destructive force. It almost always gets back to the person and the impact can be so harmful. There is a vast difference between talking to your trusted circle to get perspective, clarity and insight. No, I’m talking about gossiping, spreading half-truths or only part of the story you know.

I know we didn’t take the oath to “Do No Harm” when we took our roles, but maybe we should have. I know I have been caught up in the gossip circle and so wished I hadn’t engaged in the first place.

When I think back to my days of partaking in gossip, I thought I was just being a part of a gossipy group, maybe I thought it was the “in” group, maybe I thought it was a sense of belonging but I know for sure I wasn’t thinking it would ever get back to the person or people.

But gossiping is like a gun with two barrels, one pointed at the other person and one pointed right back at you. You not only attack someone else’s character, you attack your own when you partake in gossip.

I didn’t recognize it back then, but when I gossiped about others, I moved the line back in the sand when it came to my own integrity. I was definitely not walking my walk or talking my talk. But most of all I wasn’t thinking about the impact on the other person.

It’s easy to complain about gossip when it’s about you or someone you care about. But as long as any of us contributes to the gossip culture, we don’t have room to complain. If we want change in this area, we must model that change.

I encourage you to pay close attention to what you say about others. Maybe our mothers were right, if we don’t have anything nice to say, perhaps we should keep our mouths shut.

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