Gossip and Character Deformation are the most destructive forces, it ruins lives. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to the pain of Character Deformation. The following paragraphs are in no way a representation of my personal views of any individuals, or an attempt to slander or cause pain for the individuals involved. I value the privacy of the individuals involved, despite their role in this event, and I am grateful for the people who supported me through this time; You made a bad situation bearable and encouraged me to believe in myself.
It’s been almost 11 months since I read a string of painful words, inaccurately describing my character, shared across the twitter universe for everyone to see. I was described as a crazy stalker who was dangerous and must be stopped. These words were written by another tweeter, who has never met me in person. These words were the result of a combination of events which included, over exaggerated idle gossip and my naive attempt to advise someone to guard their heart. My advice was unfortunately perceived as, a malicious attempt to sabotage, instead of words spoken out of kindness and concern. I made many choices in relation to these events, I allowed myself to lose sleep, I spent my days filled with anxiety and fear, but I did make great choices, which allowed me to pick myself up and move on from these events. How do you deal with gossip and character deformation? How do you start again and rebuild your life?
What are my options?
There are three ways of dealing with Character Deformation; the first, involves a lawyer and a legal proceeding. Is monetary compensation an appropriate resolution? The legal option is a form of revenge and is far from satisfying when the proceedings are over you’re still left the damage to your reputation; no amount of cash will restore the damage done to a reputation. This option forces you to constantly be in a state of limbo, where you are constantly reliving the events and you fail to move on.
In some cases, it is possible to start a process of mediation, where you involve an unrelated third-party to talk things through and possibly reach a resolution. This is a popular option, but unfortunately, many people persistently try to resolve issues, on their own, without the support of a third-party. Their efforts are undertaken in the heat of the moment, without realising the full ramifications of their actions. It would be unwise to start a process of mediation on-line or while you are emotions. Always talk face to face, allow yourself to calm down, it’s important to be at a point where you are thinking clearly and rationally. If you allow yourself to discuss your issues in a public forum or while you are emotional, your actions could be perceived, as harassment and you may unintentionally live up to the claims made by others. Just like the first option, mediation will not restore the damage done to your reputation, but it may lead to an apology.
The most important question you could ask yourself is: What outcome am I seeking in this situation? If, you desire to move on, and rebuild your reputation instead of getting even, there is a three-step process which helps you to pick up the pieces and move on, calmly and peacefully.
1. Self Evaluation.
I believe that your best weapon is self-evaluation. It’s extremely powerful, this tool enables me to pick myself up and move on with grace and dignity. Ask yourself: Is there any truth to these claims? I am certainly not asking you to believe the harsh words of others, but to carefully evaluate yourself and make any small changes. My biggest take away from this situation was to know how to evaluate when someone was open to advice and when they were closed, and the ability to know the difference. It is still important to me to help the individuals around me, but my advice is for those who adore me or who are seeking to improve themselves. It’s important to not allow situations to alter your core values.
It’s also important to ask yourself: What was their intention? As I look back upon the events, I start to doubt whether their intention was to slander or cause pain. They might have been trying to look out for someone they cared about, nevertheless it is not possible for anyone to know the true intentions behind another individual’s words or actions. The process of trying to understand another individual’s point of view makes closure and moving on much easier.
It is also important to consider: Are the harsh words of an individual really important?
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful decisions you can make. Forgiveness is a decision to surrender your right to get even. Forgiveness is not something that occurs overnight but sometimes is a daily exercise, that improves over time. It took me 5 months to come to a place where I had truly forgiven the writer of the tweet. The support of friends, distancing myself as well as time, was the best cure and enabled me to reach a place where I could truly forgive. A lack of forgiveness can cause unnecessary stress, fear and anxiety which can lead to health issues if left unchecked over time.
3.The ultimate revenge.
The singer Frank Sinatra once said, the best revenge is to live successfully. It’s been my experience, that the ultimate revenge is to simply prove them wrong. I went through an exercise where I evaluated my core values and beliefs, and I lived a life that was reflection my values. Although, I chose to stick with my existing values, this exercise rebuilt my self-esteem and enabled me to understand myself on a deeper level; and gave me strength to face any harsh words
Moving on is a decision to choose happiness, instead of pain.
It took a few months for me to decide whether to share my experience and the lessons I learned, nevertheless, at some stage, everyone has experienced the pain of gossip. It has been my experience, that self-evaluation and forgiveness are the keys to moving on, from the pain, that gossip can bring. Have you experienced the pain of gossip? How did you deal with the events? Let me know by using the comments box below.
Photo Credit: mammuth, iStock ID # 20474375