Maybe it’s your co-workers. Maybe it’s your friends, or your enemies. Perhaps it is your ex’s. Maybe it’s your actual family – trust me on this one – I’ve had my father walk out of the room to talk about me behind my back to my step family. It’s not a pleasant feeling.
How to cope with it? Well, I’ve tried all the methods you probably have – get frustrated and angry. C’mon – can’t people just say it to our faces? It’s rude. You could cry and stamp your feet. You could hold a grudge, and resent them, which leads to angry outbursts in the future directed at them. This latter is NOT helpful. All you’re doing is giving them more of a reason to talk about you in the future. You could just accept it, and do nothing. Do some breathing exercises and let it wash over you. Don’t bite back. Easier said than done though right? Think about the following points.
Reasons people talk about you:
- There is something interesting about you that is worth talking about:
- These could be mistakes you’ve made, and people are learning from you.
- They could be your successes! People may be jealous of you.
- Either way you ARE interesting, and your experiences are valid enough to talk about.
- (Accept that people are going to talk about you behind your back. You are lying if you say that you don’t gossip about others!)
In my case, I have made bad life choices. That’s fair enough, let people talk. I’d talk about somebody else if they had made the same mistakes first. However, I’m not on the outside looking in. I messed up first, so I’ve got to accept this frustrating repercussion. If you relate, remember we are human, and we make mistakes. Another thing humans like to do is compare themselves to each other. If you’ve got regrets, and you’re looking over at that person who is ‘better’ – just stop. You cannot learn if you do not mess up. Mistakes you’ve made are in the past. You can’t change them. You cannot fail in life, you can only learn and grow.
The way I have started to look at it is it may well be my new life purpose. Finally right? A reason to exist! A purpose! You can too. We can look back on our past mistakes, cringe, and pray that we have learned from them and evolved. For the people that are talking – go ahead and compare yourselves to us. That is meant genuinely, not sarcastically. If it makes you feel good about yourself to know that ‘oh god, I would never do what they did!’ Go for gold, and own it! You wouldn’t, especially now that you’ve seen what happens when somebody already did!
If you can get through every day knowing that you’ve made somebody feel better about themselves, that is an achievement. Feel good about it! It might make you feel a bit better if you also go outside and give a stranger a compliment too… little nice action everyday doesn’t go amiss.
Some people are jealous! The flip side to the above situation. Perhaps you made lots of correct choices in life, and you’ve ended up in a good position. Maybe you didn’t need to make those choices – you just happen to be privileged. It goes back to comparing to other people again – it’s human nature. Be mindful of where you are significantly more privileged than other people. Be grateful for what you have and don’t resent their feelings.
Love yourself and love others.
This is possibly the most important one. Hold your head high. If people are talking and saying things that they aren’t comfortable enough to say to your face – remind yourself of the things that are great about you. You can wonder what they are saying too, but don’t dwell on it. I for one have bad teeth, so my breath smells. I am also over dramatic. I can work on both of these things. I want my teeth to be better, and I’m working on managing my emotions. Anything else that people are saying – what ever. Let them talk. By the same principle though, catch yourself when you find yourself talking about other people. If you don’t like it, mind what you are saying about others. Would you say it to their face? Consider who is obviously talking about you behind your back too. If like my family, they are obviously leaving the room to natter about you, then fine. They are almost saying – look, I am going to say some ugly things about you that I am not brave enough to say to your face. That sucks that they won’t. Brush it off. Work on your faults, and love yourself.