Even if it’s a problem I don’t, myself, associate with (loneliness, for example) – I’ll often be able to empathize with their emotions by putting myself in their place. I can almost always identify with someone by putting myself in their place. I find their footprints and put my own feet in them.
However, I’ll occasionally hear from someone (or talk with them) who’s going through something that’s so alien to my way of thinking that I struggle to find their footprints… let alone step into them.
Here’s a perfect example: Girls, boys, women, or men who are heartbroken because their “significant other” talks badly about them to….
- their best friends
- their co-workers
- their own family
Why am I unable to find these particular footprints? Because I can’t figure out what makes this sort of person worthy of being called a “significant” anything.
Think about words for a minute. As someone who writes (to the tune of all day.. everyday..) and reads a great deal, I may attach more emphasis, importance, and value to words than the average person. Having said that, I don’t think anyone can or should undermine their importance. Feelings, emotions, and knowledge are conveyed with words. Whether it’s the spoken language or written language – we convey the essence of our thoughts and feelings with our words.
If we’re hurt, it comes out in our words.
If we’re angry, it comes out in our words.
If we’re bitter, it comes out in our words.
If we’re happy, it comes out in our words.
If we’re grateful, it comes out in our words.
And on and on and on. Our words, in many ways, identify what we feel inside.
Do you see why I said what I did about some people not being worthy of being called a “significant” anything?
Some people talk about their families in a way that seeks only to build them up. If they call a friend up and happen to mention their wife, girlfriend, or children – the friend knows it’s going to be a positive conversation. The friend (or co-worker) will think this guy’s family is the greatest family in the world! Why? Because the friend feels that they are the greatest!
Other people talk about their families or friends in such a way that others start wondering, “Are they complete losers?” or, worse, “I don’t think this guy /girl really loves her/him.”
After all, if the only thing out of someone’s mouth about someone is negative, after a while, you can only draw one conclusion: This person doesn’t care about them. IF they did, their words would back it up.
So. What do you do if you KNOW someone is running you down or talking about you behind your back? For what it’s worth, here’s my advice:
- Make sure of your facts before you say anything. If an individual who you can trust explicitly tells you that this person has been talking about you OR you have seen or heard the evidence, yourself – then you probably have all the proof you need to confront them. However, when I say “confront,” I’m not talking about an ambush. You’re cooler than that. Also, don’t ask them if they HAVE BEEN doing it – that only gives them an “out.” Without getting (or at least, without appearing!) angry, tell them, “I just need to know something… why do you talk badly about me to ________?” Let them know that you know they do – you haven’t run for the hills, you aren’t armed and dangerous – you simply want to know why they feel the need to do this and if there’s anything you can do to make it stop. Please make sure you KNOW the facts before saying anything. Few things are less attractive than a paranoid person on a hunt when there simply isn’t any prey.
- If the information they’ve spread is LIES, you have a right to ask them to set things straight. If they’ve exaggerated the details (in an attempt to garner sympathy, I suppose), tell them it’d mean the world to you if they’d let the person know they were upset when they spoke about you and that they shouldn’t have said the things they said.
- If the person gets angry and defensive, just drop it for the time being. You absolutely cannot reason with someone when they’re like this. Simply say, okay, let’s forget it for now. There’s no need in escalating the situation or helping a hot head get even hotter.
In the end, if you have someone in your life who you think of as “special,” yet they continue to run to others anytime you have an altercation or they tend to paint you in a less than positive light to other people, please ask yourself just how “special” they are. That’s the “big question” I mentioned in the title. Words convey what’s in our heart. There’s a little flow chart: OUR FEELINGS —> OUR THOUGHTS —> OUR WORDS. If someone’s words are unkind about an individual, their feelings or thoughts are polluting their words. That’s why you have to talk to them.
I saw a quote graphic on Pinterest one time that encouraged girls to find a guy with whom “you know your name is safe in his mouth.” I love that. It can go for guys or gals, of course, but the gist is this: You want someone in your life who… whenever your name is on their tongue… it is as safe as a baby in its mother’s arms.
You should seek to surround yourself with people who you KNOW – beyond a doubt – speak highly of you. People who, whenever they speak your name to ANYONE, there is kindness, love, and even pride involved.
That’s what you deserve. Don’t ever forget that!