Gossip is a Form of Connection… and I Don’t Want a Part of It

A couple of years ago I heard a group of people making fun of me after I left the room. In a fury, I started writing a short and not-that-sweet blog post about it- a post titled “Gossip: It’s Low Vibe Energy.”

I often write about the things in life that irritate me, and almost immediately felt better afterward. I’ve written about the things in life that are painful- heartbreak, my experience in treatment, depression, and trauma. I’ve revisited stories of high school bullies and people who pushed me out of their life. I’ve talked about my alcoholism before people could start whispering about where I had been for a month or my poor behavior in the past. I’ve tried to own my side of the street, and took back my narrative before others tried to construe the truth- or think their words would break me.

I’ve noticed how gossip isn’t necessarily meant to be malicious or cruel toward other people, though. As a person who used to have a habit of taking everything personally, I was deeply hurt when people gossiped about me. Whether it was a flat out lie or laughing at my misfortune, I withdrew from connecting with people out of fear. For years I kept to myself and avoided interaction whenever possible.

This all began to change when I moved to the city. In San Francisco, being quirky was widely accepted. In New York, it was encouraged to drink during the day. In Boston, well, people were more concerned with themselves than even giving you a second glance, let alone gossip.

Now back in my hometown of 14,000 people in the city proper, of course gossip runs wild. Whether it’s school board scandal or frowning on changes in the community, people thrive on the dirt. They feed off of it.

I’ve learned an important lesson though- one even more pertinent than owning my narrative:

A lot of people use gossip to connect.

They talk about others to feel heard. They whisper about people behind their backs to gain some sort of validation from their peers.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Connection is a powerful thing, but a lot of people aren’t comfortable with sharing their own truth. They connect based on other people, shallow aspects of life, and material gain. They judge other people by what they have or what they’ve accomplished, but not what’s inside their soul.

Today, I connect based on truth.

I’ve been invited to meet old friends and I’ve received messages from acquaintances who are merely curious about my personal life. I’m aware not all of these people truly care about me as a person, but they do care about what sort of drama or problems I may have.

It’s okay, though- I’ve beat them to it.

I’ve already shared what’s really going on with me throughout the web, and I hope to have more opportunities to share my story with the world. Whether it’s public speaking or writing, I know my experiences have helped people learn they’re not alone in their struggles.

My own struggles have brought me strength, for I have overcome them. Gossip may still be low vibe energy, and it’s not something I will participate in today. I wish the best for those who have snickered behind my back or tried to watch me fall; because today, I continue to rise. I hope they find their own way of doing so, too.

Home for Christmas

For the first time since 2015, I was able to spend Christmas with my family.

I am so grateful to be home in Michigan, but most of all, to realize my family only wants one thing for me:

To be happy.

It’s pretty amazing that it took me 35 years to actually believe this- but it’s better late than never.

It’s fair to say I am. 🥰

Merry Christmas to all from my family to yours. I hope you had a beautiful day.

2020: Entering The Decade of Self Esteem

Abraham Maslow considered self esteem as one of the higher needs in his hierarchy; but to me, it’s one of the most important.

While basic needs (such as physiological and safety) are at the bottom, love and belonging come before self esteem. Why? Self esteem is crucial to fulfillment.

If you don’t love yourself, accepting love from another person is next to impossible.

Even your basic bottom needs are often unmet when you have low self esteem- so why is it so far up the hierarchy?

This is especially true for those who have suffered from trauma or addiction. I almost titled this post “Rethinking Maslow’s Hierarchy,” but I realized my message is bigger than that. As I reflect on the past decade, the choices I have made, and the lessons I have learned, I realized I would take matters into my own hands. I would make a choice to make this next decade about maintaining self love, both for myself and helping others to improve their own self esteem.

Before you think that job or possession will make you happy, consider how low self esteem is standing in your way of achieving everything you want. Without it, it’s hard to succeed in the workplace, in love, and in life.

The other day I stumbled on a great piece by TheFix.com by Susan Peabody, sharing 12 ways to build self esteem and acceptance. For those who are in recovery, it’s very possible that our self esteem took a hit along the way. We viewed ourselves through the eyes of others and by our mistakes, our pain, and our addiction.

 “When the melancholic dejectedly desires to be rid of life, of himself, is this not because he will not learn earnestly and rigorously to love himself? When a man surrenders himself to despair because the world or some person has left him faithlessly betrayed, what then is his fault except that he does not love himself the right way.” -Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love.

Society has sent us negative messages about ourselves, from how we need to look to the milestones we need to achieve to reach ultimate happiness. My experience has shown that even the house, the job, and the bank account will never satisfy us if we are not satisfied with who we are as a human being.

I’ve had countless friends and have known endless people who are discontent due to outside forces. Whether they’ve lost a loved one or are simply unhappy with their life, being able to recover from the pain and find joy in everyday life is the first step to improving ones self esteem.

As 2019 ends, reflect on how you currently feel about yourself. Think about what you want to change- because it truly does start from within.

Now is the time to let go to make room to spread your wings and grow.