A few years ago I received a mail from a former best friend I had at University. It said: “I never dared to ask you but are you on drugs? Everyone said you were”.
Reading it made me angry. At university telling a gossip is the order of the day. Other people also told me stories about her. I had always defended her because that is what friendship is all about.
How could one of my closest companions of that time assume that such a ridiculous accusation could be based on the truth?
I sent her an honest answer but we never met again. Ever. And I don’t think I will feel the urge in my heart to connect with her again.
Looking back now, I can see how my friendship with another lady, let’s call her Nadja, might have brought these rumours into life. That lady was flamboyant. I loved her free spirit. She posed as a naked model at the art academy. And she grew her own cannabis. I did not mind, but I was not compelled to go along with it. Being diabetic I have experienced loosing my consciousness too often. I would not consider drugs because I like being myself. I don’t feel the need to delve into other realms. I just loved the fact that this lady came from a completely different background then I did. Nadja was something else. I never ever met anybody quite like her again.
Gossip. It glues people together by setting others apart. The in-group versus the out-group. And when you are in the out group there is no way in hell you are going to be allowed back in.
Let’s look at the dreams I have had over the years about the “gossip lady”. In one of my dreams, I had long before she sent me her email, she is wearing an army jacket. She is jumping up and down to a rhythm and I can not keep up. I decide to stop jumping and look at her working herself into a cold sweat.
Looking at the dream in retrospect I think that my former friend symbolizes that part of me that keeps the pace and follows orders. My friendship with Nadja was all about breaking with the things that where familiar for me (It surprises me that I never ever dream about her but I did have several dreams about the “gossip lady” before she sent me her email)
In yet another dream she is graduated and I am still in school. I hate myself in this dream, I feel stupid because I know we are intellectually on the same level.
In waking life we graduated on the same day with the same score. It was obvious that “gossip lady” is also in my perspective my superior. Both dreams I had long before she ever sent me this mail.
Gossip. How do you cope with it if it is aimed against you. Even though I did not get defensive in my response to “gossip lady” I clearly created emotional distance.
I don’t know what happened to my former friend. I just know that there are some good tips protecting yourself from the emotional damage of gossip.
As the Dalai Lama says, ‘You don’t have to be a God, just stop hurting people.
In the book Gossip Bob Burg and Lori Palatnik give 10 ways to eliminate gossip from your life. The book Gossip explores the role of lashon hora (evil speech) in the Bible and in Jewish tradition, putting the process of gossip in a spiritual concept. Furthermore the authors explore paths to keep relationships good, to put bad words aside and to focus on the positive.
A final dream I had about my friend the gossip lady: In my dream I am looking for a dress. I am panicked because there is a party and I am one of the invited guests, I am expected to turn up there soon. My former friend shows up with a blue dress and relieved I accept her gift. I put on the dress and it is the perfect gift.
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