There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it hardly becomes any of us to talk about the rest of us. ~Edward Wallis Hoch
The black dye of hearsay stains the light catching surface of our thoughts and murks the spring from where our innocence drinks. You can’t unhear what you hear and you can’t help but for it to mold what you hear next. We make sense of things that make sense already. It’s not you, it’s psychology. Maybe knowing will help you sort, but until then, you’re a tumbleweed and the buzz of whispers is the wind.
Hide under the table with me. I want to tell you something.
Everything you hear is filtered through your perception. Once it’s accepted, it becomes part of the perception that filters the information that follows. If you hear a rumor about someone, you can’t help but see them through the rumor. Whoever gets to your ears first is the one you balance contradicting information against. That’s why people run a marathon of words trying to be the first to talk during a disagreement. The tongue never tires.
Now the rumor subject has to prove the gossip wrong. If she doesn’t know it, then she doesn’t know she’s on egg shells. She confirms nasty suspicion when her unwitting steps leave a trail of broken shells. If she does know it, she’ll do what she can to prove it wrong, but that only makes her act suspiciously unnatural.
It is said that seeing is believing. Believing is seeing, too. If someone told you that the man across the room was a genius, you would watch what he does and consider the brilliance. You would listen to his words and stash them away for later consideration. But, if someone told you he was an imbecile, you would watch what he does and consider the stupidity. His words become inside jokes you’ll giggle about later.
Gossip is free. Do you pay attention to what you buy? Pay even more attention to what is free. It’s free for a reason.
You see what you believe. If someone tells you that you look pretty when your hair is pulled back, you’ll feel pretty when it’s pulled back. It doesn’t have to be true if you think it’s true. The confidence you get from feeling pretty is prettier than you actually are. Your belief that you were pretty made you pretty.
Some prophecies fulfill themselves.
If someone tells you that your friend is unhappy and may be leaving, you’re going to treat her different and cause her to be unhappy. Your thoughts change your behavior, words mold perception, reality is altered with persistence. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. It doesn’t have to be true for you to create the environment to make it true. To her everything was fine, and now, suddenly, it’s not. You believe she’s unhappy, so you treat her as though she is. The strange and unwarranted way you’re treating her makes her unhappy and your suspicion is confirmed.
If you assume the best, you bring out the best. Eyes squinted in suspicion don’t let in enough light to see anything clearly. You need light to see, otherwise you have to make things up or rely on someone else.
“When a blind man leads a blind man, they both end up in the ditch.” – Jesus, Matthew 15:14 MSG
“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.” – Jewish Proverb