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The Yachtie Glow: by Angela Orecchio
Being healthy on board isn’t always just about what we eat and how much we exercise. It’s also about our emotions and how we show up in this world.
Gossiping and talking negatively about other crew members behind their back is a disease that spreads like wildfire. Before we know it, everyone onboard is affected and sick. Not only does gossiping cause problems between individuals, it also creates a negative vibe that cannot be ignored.
I’ve seen the affects of gossiping many times, and I’ve learned that gossiping is the easy and short-term way to deal with problems. The consequences of gossiping in the long term, however, are never positive and often cannot be undone.
Essentially, people gossip because it’s an easy and quick way to fulfill basic human needs when they feel bad about something. Talking about a problem with someone unrelated makes them feel better initially because they are able to release emotions and energy that are building up. It also makes people feel right about their point of view and feel like they have something in common with each other.
But gossiping affects the person with the problem because he/she is creating drama rather than dealing with the issue. No one feels good when they hold negative feelings about someone or something. Talking about it unproductively keeps the problem alive and thriving.
It also affects the person being gossiped about because they might feel left out and isolated, even though they may not know why. Even if they are included in group activities, most people know when they are not truly included in a group.
And it affects the boat because it creates tension in the tightly knit group and space. The ebb and flow of the crew will not be as vibrant when there are issues building up between members.
The good news is that there are healthier ways to deal with bad feelings about someone or something.
First, take a time to cool down. Do some deep breathing and assess the problem rationally.
When ready, address the problem directly. As scary as this might be, when we approach a problem maturely and rationally, we will see positive results, one way or another. Letting it go might be an option, but if it stays on your mind, it must be addressed. It won’t go away on its own. Instead, it will compound and it could blow up over something small and unrelated.
Before addressing the problem, visualize how the conversation will go. Visualize the results.
Know that if you go to the person with the intention of showing how you are right and they are wrong, chances are they will get defensive and nothing will get resolved.
Find a way to disarm the person before talking about your issue so you can have a heart-felt conversation. Try offering a genuine compliment or recognition about something that is relevant. Or start by apologizing for your part in the problem. It takes two to tango, even if you are ultimately right.
Use words such as “I feel” rather than pointing fingers with “You are”. “I felt hurt when I thought you were… .”
Realize that just because we think someone did or said something does not mean that every fact about it is true. We all operate from our own foundation of beliefs and habits, and that makes us see situations different from each another.
If another crew member starts gossiping, be the bigger person and ask them not to. Advise them to resolve their feelings by talking directly to the person or suggest they see their head of department.
Lead by example; don’t gossip. Make it known that you don’t gossip and that you’re not the person to come to if they want to talk badly about someone. People will get the hint, eventually, and not involve you. You will then become a leader and an inspiration.
Living on a boat highlights people’s strengths and weaknesses. As someone once aptly told me, you can’t hide yourself when you work on a boat.
If you find yourself gossiping, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, acknowledge it and set the intention to react in a different and specific way. Get clear about how you want to act and who you want to be, and each time will become easier.
Angela Orecchio is a chief stew and certified health coach. This column was edited from her blog, Savvy Stewardess, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Yachting (www.savvystewardess.com).