Snooping – What It Reveals About You
By Debbie Mandel
Snooping sounds like an innocuous pastime. We can google our friends, neighbors and significant others and even find out what someone paid for her house. We can subtly interrogate those we come in contact with to discover some choice bit of gossip. TV shows like Extra and ET, magazines like the National Enquirer, provide us with celebrity gossip. What’s the big deal about this playful form of entertainment? There are female prototypes who warn us against snooping: Eve in the Garden of Eden and Pandora and her box. Then there is that old saying: “Curiosity killed the cat” and it is extremely difficult to kill a cat because it has nine lives.
Snooping has a darker side. It indicates that we are suspicious, insecure, and vulnerable. Some of us constantly call our lovers to verify their fidelity; or some of us try to verify the truth concerning a friend’s excuse for cancellation – was she really sick or didn’t she want to see me? The attributes we project onto others often reveal what resides in our own hearts. Could it be that we are untrustworthy or dishonest in our dealings? Perhaps, we have cancelled a commitment when a better opportunity came along. Ironically, all the checking-up phone calls alienate our friends and lovers.
The root cause of snooping is an underdeveloped sense of self. When we snoop, we are comparing and competing with others. We need to be in the know in order to gauge our own performance and set standards for our aspirations. We are looking “to dig up the dirt and get the low down” (note the derogatory terms) on others to feel better about ourselves. Like a seasoned soap opera viewer, we feel happier and luckier than the poor, miserable dramatic actors. Returning to the archetype of the Garden of Eden, we snoop because we are jealous. Instead of working on ourselves and emulating the objects of our jealousy, we would rather find out some juicy bit of gossip to take them down a peg and share that communication with others to finish them off.
Because we lack self-confidence, we seek constant validation and applause. One way to achieve it is by communicating what we snooped to others. After all we have a good story to tell which will be received with, “Wow! How did you ever find out? You don’t say?” The more people we tell the tale, the better it becomes. We have a receptive applauding audience who lingers over our every word for a few moments. However, we will not feel elevated and important for long because others will not trust us with their confidences; our reputations will actually suffer as we spread damaging tales. We will lose the respect we wanted to achieve.
So, the next time you have the urge to snoop:
- Call up the person you are sleuthing and give him or her a genuine compliment.
- Try to find meaning in a solitary creative activity.
- Change your perception when you feel defeated. Don’t berate yourself for mistakes by exaggerating them into failures that erode your self worth. You are not defined by your accomplishments or mistakes.
- The only reason to spread a tale is to help or get help to the person who is afflicted.
- If you want to be successful in life, you need to make loyalty a priority.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com