Dealing with Gossip
originally written and added to first website
13 Nov 03
What is your plan for dealing with gossip?  Until recently, I hadn’t even thought of having a plan for this situation.  I was an unknown. My perspective was that I was unnoticed and therefore, no one who didn’t know me would be talking about me or even give me a second thought.  I realize now that my viewpoint is outdated.

    I have recently learned of some negative things that were being said about me.  Not only are they untrue but they were being circulated by people who have never even met me.  I was hurt by this information.  Not just hurt…I was angry.  What right would anyone have to be saying things about me when they didn’t even know me?  I was hurt because I figured I must have unknowingly offended someone and wasn’t given the opportunity to make things right between us.  This feeling put me on a path…a need really…to try to find out who was saying these things and why.  Had I hurt someone without intending to?  Why didn’t they talk to me about it?  Who am I that they would even care about me enough to give the effort to speak my name?  Especially when they don’t know me personally.  I am not a celebrity…I am not a VIP…why should they care about who I am friends with and who I am not?  This was a heavy load on my mind until this morning.

    This morning when I was taking a shower I was relieved of this burden.  (Yep, you guessed it…another “shower thought”!)  Those of you who recall some of my earlier writings will remember that much of my only true thinking time happens in the shower or while I am driving.  All Moms of young children will understand this predicament.  : )  Back to the topic at hand…I was thinking and fretting over comments that had gotten back to me and trying to figure out what I should do about it.  I wanted to defend myself against these opinions about me.  I was thinking that I should find out who is saying them and then confront them about it.  Those who know me know this is a huge stretch for me.  I am one who will always run from a confrontation unless I have no other choice.  I initiated a confrontation with someone once in my adult life and that situation (and friendship) went sour real fast.  I never wanted to do that again.  But this situation with the unfair gossip was quite another matter in my mind.  I wanted justice!  I wanted to set the record straight…get to the heart of the matter with this business.  As I was dwelling on all of this I was reminded of scripture I had read about one of Jesus’ disciples coming to him and telling him what other people have been saying about him.  Jesus never asked who was talking trash about him.  His question was, “who do you say that I am?”  He wanted to know what the people he had closest to him thought.  I am no biblical scholar but what I gleaned from this passage brought me peace once more.  We are not to worry about what rumors may be being circulated about us.  We are to be real and honest with everyone we meet.  We are to love people and strive not to cause harm to anyone.  But, there will always be someone who, for whatever reason, will not be happy with our actions.  Whether fueled by jealousy or just outright ignorance, it makes little difference.  We should be aware of how we appear to those who know us well because there may be something in our behavior that we cannot see ourselves.  We should be willing to make changes in our behavior patterns when we do become aware of something that may be causing unintentional harm to another.  This entire situation has actually been good for me.  I can see some things about my behavior that could be misread by those who don’t know me.  

     I am and always have been a shy person.   I have had bold stages in my life where, for a brief period of time, I have been able to make the first move in starting up a friendship.  However, this is not always a standard practice for me.  

     Shyness is a funny thing.  Not everyone with quiet personalities think themselves better than anyone else.  People who do not struggle with shyness have no idea how incredibly difficult it is to initiate a conversation with someone you don’t know.  Just yesterday I had to deal with this “quirk” of my personality.  I was at MOPS and noticed a lady whom I had never met before.  She crossed my path a few times and I found myself wishing that someone was around who could introduce us.  (Those of you who are more outgoing will be laughing at me at this point because of the simplicity of the solution!)  I wanted to know her name, where she came from, all those little details that help us connect to another human being.  I could not get my feet to move or my mouth to open!  I smiled and said hi…but that is about as far as I got (and usually get on my own).  What causes this?!  Why can’t I be bold and outgoing like some of the people I admire?  I am realizing I can’t change who I am but I can work on “growing” in some of these areas to fine tune the person that I am.  I can recognize my strengths and work on my weaknesses.  

     As for the people who are spreading gossip, time will reveal the truth.  I have only to be myself with those I meet and to care about them in a real and tangible way.  It’s a waste of energy, emotions and time to worry about the opinions of people who have nothing better to do than to tear down other human beings.  True friends build one another up.  I have found true friends along the journey of my life and they are my treasures on earth.  That joy cannot be taken away from me by the unkind words of others.
~~Shirley

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