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Gossip can be draining; there is always going to be some gossip about you, especially if you stand out. Are you going to be affected?
One of my good old students spoke to me in a feeble voice. Let’s keep her name as Asha. She said, some people among her circle are gossiping about her behind the back and that’s disturbing her and also because of that, her self esteem has been terribly crushed.
Asha was my student when she did her post graduation. She is known to me as a cheerful girl who will take complete ownership of the work she does with utmost dedication. Also, she is highly sensitive.
And talking about being backbitten, not only Asha, none of us escape from that. Smiling at the face and stabbing at the back is a filthy and familiar pastime of human breeds ever.
I replied her, “Asha, you should pity on them for they are down on themselves to face you. Did you even think why they do this only when you’re not around? Because they are the ones who lack self esteem dear, not you !”
She remained silent and the moment I assumed that she was convinced with what I said, she shooted her next question.
“How do I react, ma’am?”
Natural reaction to any gossip would be of negative emotions. It would be better to cut off the rising of such emotions as that could ruin one’s peace of mind. But I didn’t want to react to her words without reflecting on them. I quickly travelled into my mind and picked these words for her.
“You can react either by feeling victimized for being their topic of idle moments or you can wear a confident smile while seeing them that symbolically conveys ‘I know you dumb heads are trash talking about me and I just don’t care.’ Which one do you prefer?” I questioned her back.
There was a pause and when I thought I should break the silence, she continued.
“Yeah ma’am I would definitely prefer showing off that I don’t care. But.. What’s bothering me more is, what if they damage my reputation?” Her worry was valid.
Of course, gossip is a chain reaction that can travel places with people. I really don’t understand what they gain out of this nonsense business. I thought I should make Asha realize those are the pathetic people and they can’t hide her true identity with their useless opinions.
“So you are worrying about the other noble souls who would easily believe the gossip of such dumbheads and start hating the not-so real part of you, right? Why do you even spare time for such stuff?”
As I was gushing down the words holding my breathe, she stopped me by mixing a dash of smile along with her spattering words.
“I think I shouldn’t…. Eeeeee…!”
“Look, Asha. People are not saints. At times, they are imperfect to be dealt with, and it’s just another shade of humans, that’s it. You can’t control the gossip unless you confront directly, ignore politely or handle politically. Choose your battles wisely, my dear.”
After few days of our conversation, again she texted me in whatsapp telling me “Ma’am, you know what? They don’t seem like stopping their nonsense. Somehow I wanna make them feel ashamed ma’am. This is so annoying.”
I texted her back: “Well, Asha, how nice it would be if we shift our attention only to what people say to our face. Why do you let it bother you? I think they are really not worth your time, Asha. Are they? Understand, I am not stopping you from trying to make them feel ashamed. I am just reminding you it’s time for you to launch yourself to the next level, by not paying your mind to all these things that suck your productivity.”
“Thanks ma’am. Something I feel poweful now”
“Oh. All these days you kept giving power to them and now you have seized it finally!”
“Ma’am! You are sweet.”
“I know I know :)”
Most of us often forget that it’s not about the opinions, but it’s always about people who give the opinion. Being back bitten is no big deal if we remember this. There is more to life than worrying about what people say!
Image source: John William Waterhouse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only.
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