Gossip, the need to make oneself feel better by criticizing others, is an insidious darkness. I hear it all the time, the criticism of how some other person is somehow inadequate, ridiculous, pathetic, unappreciative, just WRONG. I hear women talk about the physical appearances of other women, friends and strangers - and criticize either for "letting herself go" or for being obsessed with looks. I hear people dissect each other's marriages, parenting, self care. I get sucked in myself, and there is the momentary pleasure of connecting with someone else in feeling superior to the third party - but a dirty feeling follows. I commit myself more strongly to avoiding engaging in gossip of any kind and to either leaving the room or speaking up when other people do. I will look at how well my own behavior matches my values instead of comparing myself to others, for better or for worse.