Who was or still is your female hero and why? Mine is my mum. We celebrated her 65th birthday recently, and apart from being loving, kind, full of energy and incredibly beautiful, she’s still the strong warrior women I’ve known since I was born.
That’s her and me goofing around in the car (at a red signal, don’t worry). She taught me a lot of valuable lessons throughout my life (including how to park a car like a boss). One of the most important ones was to never let the bullies and haters at school get into my head and ignore any kind of gossip about me.
I was 12 years old, a nerd and simply different. Mean kids at school were talking really hateful about me behind my back. The other less popular kids went along with it, so at some point some weird and ugly rumors about me were spread.
The talking never really stopped, but thanks to my mum’s support, I grew mentally stronger over time. She repeated again and again, that I was worthy of love and friendship no matter what. That I was enough the way I am. I eventually got to understand that. And as things turned out, those mean kids were fighting their own insecurities.
I wanna talk to you about this today, because gossip, talking BS and spreading rumors do cause a lot of hurt and suffering within our society.
As a kid, I honestly thought, that I’d leave this toxic culture of belittling one another behind one’s back automatically behind somehow, once I’d graduate from school. I didn’t. Gossip was everywhere, although I’ve reached adulthood. It was part of my campus life and even later of my professional life.
Did I gossip about others despite having been a target for so long? Sure I did from time to time. Never about any hateful or mean stuff, but discussing “did you already hear this and that”. I wanted to fit in, to be part of a popular social circle – until I realized I wasn’t any better than those kids at my former school. That’s where a mind shift happened (in my mid-twenties).
I started to understand, that this useless practice would always be a part of my life, unless I’d actively decide against it. Unless I’d change my behavior and serve as an example. Unless I’d surround myself with kind and caring human beings. Unless I’d call gossipers out on their BS.
Talking behind the back of somebody else is not only harmful to this person (eventually everybody learns about the stupid things others have been saying about them) but also to oneself. One’s ability to be kind, honest, and straightforward suffers tremendously.
Apart from that, spreading gossip, rumors and BS clouds our everyday life with negativity, fills our hearts with hate and clutters our precious time with useless (and often false) information. It’s hard to focus on the important things under such conditions.
Two wonderful books of one of my favorite authors Brené Brown, that helped me tremendously to understand how to be courageous and authentic in human relationships, are the following:
- The Gifts of Imperfection. A wonderful guide about choosing courage and living a wholehearted life. You are enough and you are worthy, never forget this.
- Braving the Wilderness. This book is about everyone’s quest for true belonging. It’s about understanding the difference of fitting in and belonging and having the courage to stand alone to achieve the latter (eventually).
Here are the four rules I developed for my own life on how to exclude gossip, rumors and any kind of BS:
- If I have a problem or conflict with someone who’s important to me, I try solving it with that person face-to-face, instead of bitching about it with others. This not only prevents me from bottling up my frustration and to vent then completely out of the blue (and probably even unrelated), but also helps to clear the air between that person and me. Maybe it was a simple misunderstanding and my friend/partner/family member wasn’t even aware of me being angry at her/him. I always say: Communication is key. Talk to each other, even if it’s hard. It does take courage and practice, so my advice is to start with small things, that bother you, and gradually increase the level of complexity, once you feel more comfortable resolving conflicts.
- If I don’t have anything nice to say about someone else, e.g. their outfit, their looks etc., I don’t say anything at all. Not to others and not to the person directly. Instead, sprinkle kindness like glitter (that’s the way to go!). Hurtful comments infest our hearts with darkness and we feel empty and miserable after a while deep down inside. An obvious lose-lose situation, that can be avoided easily.
- Gossiping almost always includes talking about unimportant or irrelevant stuff. Most often it’s even rumors and/or lies spreading like an attention-craving virus. Those pieces of misinformation can not only be really harmful to that person’s life, it also keeps us from dealing with our own stuff. We might not want to face problems and conflicts, so talking about others makes our lives seem less complicated and miserable for a little while. Ultimately, this quick fix wears off. Putting our own house in order instead of avoiding this (sometimes painful) process, is what we should rather do. I don’t clutter my life with gossip anymore and rather focus on the important and beautiful things around me.
- Whenever you encounter haters and bullies, have the courage to act against them. Courage is contagious. Say no to BS more often. Help others by not participating in gossip and by not spreading rumors. Set healthy boundaries and limits for your life and yourself. Be authentic. You’ll make the world a tiny bit better.
Feel free to adopt some or all of them and adapt them as needed for your own life.
Now go out and make someone else’s day by paying them an honest compliment. Spread positivity and enjoy the feeling, that you made someone happy today 🙂
What are your experiences with gossip, haters and bullies? Leave a comment below.