I want to be very honest. In 26 years, I have never made it through a day at the salon without hearing gossip. I adore my clients and they trust me. That trust allows them to vent about whomever or whatever they want. Being mindful about gossip is not about stopping it as much as it is about not being an active participant and allowing that gossip to live within us.
As clients vent, we are acting as a sounding board. It can be exhausting if we take on their gossip and feel what they are feeling. We can feel our heart racing as they talk about a cashier announcing to the entire store that their debit card was declined. We have been there. We can feel that embarrassment. But then does the story turn into how the cashier is a bad person? You cannot fix yourself by breaking someone else.
You cannot fix yourself by breaking someone else.
How do we calm our chaos in an environment full of these stories? By practicing mindfulness in these simple ways.
1. Do not assume the story/gossip is true. Every story is embellished in one way or another. We all know how the person who saw 30 cows cross the street probably only saw five.
2. Do not take on their anxiousness while hearing the story. Breathe deeply. Are you feeling like your shoulders and neck are tense? Remember you are a kind, quiet soul who is the sounding board for the client. Do not take ownership of their anxiety.
3. Practice telling yourself that these bits of gossip are just fleeting blips of information that relieve the client of stress, meant to be listened to and forgotten.
4. Do not repeat the story. You gain attention with your ability to have the juicy story, but you lose respect when telling it to others.
5. Practice empathy towards others. Our ego wants to put others in their place, but we should practice putting ourselves in their place. Whatever your client has experienced — verbal abuse, being lied to, deceived, or treated unfairly — show them compassion by saying, “I’m so sorry you are going through this. This has to be so hard for you.” It can be simple and so validating.
A great way to practice living with gossip is practicing the pause. Start by taking a few deep breaths. Release all your racing thoughts with each exhale. Release all the stories you have heard today with each exhale. Remember them as stories — not true, not false, just stories. Now the next time these stories come to mind, pause and breathe them in and out. Let them go and let a positive story come out instead. Pause the negativity. Pause the ego. Pause the temptation to be the one that knows. And watch your self-confidence increase, your self-respect strengthen, and your stress release. You got this!
Next week’s topic: Being Mindful of Your Client
Nail tech Jeri Mallow is the owner of Hartford, Wis.-based Nail Essentials and Inspire Nail Academy. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @nailessentials and Instagram @nailessentialhartfordwi.