“I don’t care what people think about me”
Such a common phrase. And it’s a lie. EVERYONE cares what people think about them. Anyone who has ever held it in when they had to, as Nolan would say, “toot” cares what others think. Ok, maybe some people out there legitimately don’t care, but they should. That’s what healthy people do: They live in a world with other people.
Anyway, I care a lot. Maybe too much. When I know someone is angry or upset with me I lose sleep…lots of it. I’ll lay in bed tossing and turning over what went wrong and how to fix it. Most of the time it’s a pretty easy fix. I can admit that I make some relational mistakes from time to time, but I’m decent at apologizing so most folks let me slide.
Recently a relationship went awry and I had no idea why. It was so weird! Everything seemed fine & then all of a sudden it wasn’t. It wasn’t “terrible”. It was just “off”. I couldn’t point at anything to them that would have caused it.
But then I came across this verse that explained EVERYTHING:
“A gossip separates the best of friends” – Proverbs 16:28
The truth was I HADN’T done anything to them. I had done something to someone else. The sharing of that offense with my friend was enough to cause a fracture in the relationship. Ouch. How do you heal a wound that you aren’t even aware of it’s existence? How do you ask for forgiveness from a person you didn’t offend?
So I made a decision – I’m done. I’m purging myself of ALL forms of gossip. I don’t speak negatively of other people anymore…at all. This decision was about a month ago. In that time I’ve learned two things:
1. I don’t have much to say
2. Neither do you
Seriously! Speaking negatively of others is what we do. It’s not malicious. It’s entertainment. Up until about a month ago I didn’t realize how destructive it actually is. After a month I’ve really gotten to a point where I’m doing pretty well (I’m really struggling with pride now though). I notice every time I want to say something and I notice every time someone else does say something. It’s difficult, but it brings a lot of joy to only focus on the positive.
And I think it protects me from others gossip…
After all, it takes a real jerk to talk trash about the guy who you know would never say anything back 🙂