I can remember sitting at a high school football game next to another mom. As we sat and watched the game we found ourselves people watching. One of the female students passed and immediately this mom shared some information with me about this girl. The comment was a rumor she had heard. I was bothered that this mother shared this information with me. It was not my business. It was hear say. This was a child. It was very condemning information. I knew her mother and it was officially in my brain now.
I could not ‘un-hear’ it. My response was not my finest moment. I mentioned that I knew her mother and she was a lovely lady. Why didn’t I take the opportunity to say something more profound in that moment? I regret that. Maybe it was true. Maybe it wasn’t. It was not her story to tell. It was not my story to know. And the truth is…we are all guilty of this on some level.
I will never understand why, as women, we do not build each other up. As I age I am more protective of my friends, neighbors and community. I am a firm believer in the ‘it takes a village’ theory. We, as a whole, should look out for one another and strive to build each other up. I am always attracted to friends that I hear speaking highly of people when they are not around. I need more of that in my life. It is so easy to get caught up in gossip and the misfortunes of others. We must remember that these are people too. They are someone’s wife, mother, daughter, sister or friend.
I would describe myself as an outgoing person. I love to meet new people. I am a risk taker. I am not shy. Because of these traits I am fortunate to know a lot of people in my community. However, I have a very small circle of close friends. The women in my life know my flaws and love me anyways. These are the people that build me up even when I’m not there. I have complete confidence in their loyalty and I am grateful. We need to find a way to treat everyone as if they are in our inner circle.
We are all human and there will be things that others do that we disagree with or that hurt us. We will talk about it. Communication is what gives us a connection to others. It makes us feel included and valued. The content of our communication is what can destroy us and others. We are hurt and we somehow feel it justifies our actions. But in truth it becomes a vicious cycle. We destroy others to make ourselves feel better. We destroy our own reputation in the process.
My goal as I approach my adult years (cough, cough) is to surround myself with people who leave me feeling positive after spending time with them. In return I hope to make them feel equally valued. I challenge all of you to be caught saying nice things about other people. If you do it enough times it will become a habit. People will want to be around you because they will feel safe and valued.
In the words of Maya Angelou: I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Words to live by.