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  • Writer's pictureJoshua U.

Behind My Back?

Presenting a topic that's been on my mind lately; it's something that I'm sure you've dealt with before and/or currently. It's certainly something that I've dealt with before and/or currently.

We all deal with it, damn near every single day of our lives. It's one of those things that is just always going to be part of our lives on a persistent basis.


I appreciate writing about topics that we all can relate to in some way, shape or form. As we gossip, we have gotten gossiped about, and will continue to be.

We've also been gossiped to, and that's where I'll start on this subject.

On the previous mental-ity post titled "Be Challenged", I stated that, largely, you are the company that you decide to keep.

As we all are human beings, we belong to the primate mammal family. So, where am I going with this, exactly? As human beings, we are very "monkey see, monkey do" in many regards.

We can sit down alongside people that engage in certain behaviors, and eventually can mimic and mirror behaviors without being fully cognizant of it. We don't necessarily mimic behaviors to a tee like, say, chimpanzees do (at least I hope not), but, bottom line: we sit with gossipers, and we wind up gossiping. Especially within the framework of friendship.

But, do you ever sit down and wonder: if this person is spewing such nonsense about someone else to me... what's to ever stop this person from speaking about me in a similar manner?

And, I know, I know. This person that you gossip with, "spelling tea" and all that: that's your 'friend'. They wouldn't ever talk about you like that because they're your friend.

Sure, that might be true. Just for fun & to play along, let's just say that's unequivocally true. I think it's important at this point in my soliloquy that I establish a clear definition of "friend" before I proceed.

You'll learn over the course of time with mental-ity that I am truly word-and-definition obsessed. Words hold power, as do their actual definitions & meanings. With that being said, here's the dictionary definition of the word friend:

  • friend: (noun) a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection

A monumental, positive stepping stone in my personal mental health journey came when I decided to differentiate between the people in my life whom I considered true friends, versus the people who were/are simply my acquaintances.

  • acquaintance: (noun) a person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend

Differentiating between friend and acquaintance; I can't tell you enough what a WORLD of change that made for me. And the same can happen for you.

In each mental-ity podcast or post that I drop, I'm usually good for one or two clichés. Here's another one:

"What's done in the dark or what's done in the shadows always comes to the light."

Nobody can 'fake the funk' forever when it comes to how they truly feel about somebody else. I don't care, it's impossible.

Being hypervigilant in constantly trying to figure out who's badmouthing you behind closed doors is about as worthless a practice that I can think of. Here's another topic-appropriate cliché: "Control what you can control."

You can't control what people say about you, especially when you're not there to hear it, so let it go. People's true emotions will come out in due time.

If you've arrived at this point in the reading, you've probably identified this as a major irritant in your life. At this moment, let's recall the Golden Rule: do unto others what you would want done to you. It's almost as if this rule was specifically made for the topic of gossip. It's very reasonable (and easy) for us to talk about other people negatively, but, obviously, very few of us want to be in the receiving end of that.

Personally speaking, I've found myself in countless situations and have sat in many circles where gossiping & rumor spreading ran rampant, with myself being a willing participant, knowing damn well I detest being talked bad about when I'm not there to defend myself. Hypocritical? Very much so. We often become hypocrites when we're lacking in self-discipline and self-awareness.

In being self-aware, we fend off cognitive dissonance.

  • cognitive dissonance: (noun) the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change

Self-awareness is good, unequivocally. But there can be a little bit of danger in it. Knowing the right thing to do, but failing to carry it out on a repetitive basis can be extremely detrimental to our mental health. That's even more so if we carry the habit of rumination after the fact.

  • rumination: (noun) the action or process of thinking deeply about something

As I stated earlier, there are very few actions more detrimental to our mental health than stressing & ruminating over the 'uncontrollables', such as gossip. It's downright toxic to do so.

Our bodies are temples, and our minds are even more so. You can't allow poison and toxicity into your temple in any regard, and gossip is exactly that.

They call it 'sh-t talking' for a reason, after all.

People that carry out this toxicity, whether they carry the title of acquaintance or friend in your life? I'm not saying to toss them to the curb, but just pay special attention and stick to your set of core values to determine whether they're healthy to have in your life or not. And if they are? Decide which box you're going to proceed to place them in.

It's another thing that your future self might just thank you endlessly for.


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