I recently took some time off to train our puppies. They needed some intense attention to get past the need to eliminate indoors, and my spouse couldn’t give it. I was also having some monstrous depression attacks. Really intense ones. Frequent ones.

Not working my program well makes me a lot more vulnerable to depression, a mostly biological condition for me. Taking time off to watch animals for signs of impending toilet activity left me with some mental resources idle enough to turn toward things that make me unhappy. Unsurprisingly, they all had to do with slapdash application of program tools.

At the end of the time off, I started writing down what I didn’t want to forget again. One post-it note became four, became ten. So now they are all over my mirror. I thought it might help to blog my thoughts on these.

This past week and a half have been much better.

The biggest problem had to do with gossip. Of course I’ve always known that gossiping is bad. It’s hurtful and negative. What I forgot was that even listening to gossip poisons my peace. It fills the air around my head with judgment, scorn, derision. That stuff seeps in, and it spurs me to judgment and criticism myself. In such a mindset, everyone is screwed up, malicious, stupid – and life just sucks.

But really it doesn’t. Everyone screws up, but we are all sacred, unrepeatable creations of a loving Higher Power. Most of us mean well, and we all are doing the best we can with the light we have to see by.

To take care of myself, I need to practice good boundaries regarding unacceptable behavior. I need to have an agreement with myself regarding what to do when confronted with spouting negativity. The strategy I decided on was to change the subject. If necessary, I could ask the other person to change the subject. I could also remove myself from the area, but since I encounter a lot of gossip in the car, it’s not practical to use that as a primary strategy.

This one thing has made more of a difference than anything. I am so grateful that my HP brought this to my attention.

Sometimes judgment and prejudice hamper my ability to hear my HP’s messages for me. My HP talks to me through other people. I can’t hear those messages if I am constantly scoffing at or dismissing what other people say. I need to listen. I don’t need to believe all that is said to me whole cloth, but I do need to listen and think, looking for those nuggets of value.