For being someone who isn’t very important, it seems people who don’t even know me like to talk about me. I guess I should be flattered by the unsolicited attention, but when I’m being quoted as saying things about another person that I haven’t said, I take offense.
Recently, there’s been a rumor floating around that I said some pretty negative things about a person I know indirectly. I don’t dislike this person or admire them; I simply have no feelings about them whatsoever. I won’t sit here and say that I’ve never gossiped about another person or talked about people behind their backs, because that would be a complete lie, but I have not said the things in the way I’m being quoted as saying them. What’s even more interesting is the same people who are talking about me, stating that I gossip and say bad things about others, are the same ones who are talking about me but have never even met me. None of them have brought to me the issues I’m being accused of stating. Trust me, I have no problem owning up to my part in any situation, even if it’s painful for myself or others.
Last night, another person, only one of many lately, brought it to my attention that these things are being said. Even though in the past few months I’ve been able to brush it off, it really irritated me this time. While talking to my best friend, I explained to her that I was thinking about sending the person I supposedly talked about a message explaining the situation. She asked me to check my motives. Did I want to be friends with him or was I upset that people were talking about me? I don’t think of myself as not friends with this person, so I answered that I guessed I was upset that people were talking about me. She suggested I pray and sleep on it.
After thinking about it for awhile this morning, I realized I don’t owe this person any kind of response. I simply did not say the things I’m being accused of saying, so why would I apologize or make amends. Many sayings ran through my head…What others think or say about me is none of my business. Don’t let other people rent space in my head for free. But mostly, I love the quote by Vonna Bonta: “It’s weird how people who are the least close to me or who’ve never even met me purport to be experts on the real me; and then, sadly, there are those who could be in touch with me but prefer to gossip with strangers about me instead.”
I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt when people talk about me behind my back, because it does. I wish I didn’t care what others thought about me, but I do. And maybe the real lesson is that I shouldn’t talk about anyone to anyone else, ever. But before I chastise myself for gossiping, let that person who has never gossiped please stand up.
At least I own my shit.
Years ago, I saw an Oprah episode with Maya Angelou where Oprah was discussing people gossiping about her and how it hurt. And Maya stated, “Yes, but you’re not in that”. I love that. When someone gossips about you, it says more about them than it does about you. So I guess I’ll let it go and rise above it. I’m not in it anyway, as Maya says.
And if you think I have said something about you that requires enough attention to be discussed at a huge dinner table, please feel free to bring it to me if you feel necessary. Otherwise…you’re no better than that which you’re accusing.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou