Lions Don’t Loose Sleep Over the Opinions of Sheep

I don’t quite know who I am yet with so many people trying to define me. People are always trying to whisper and talk about who I am when I’m not around to hear what they have to say. It is cowardly to talk behind a person’s back, and no matter how many times the gossip-tellers make people swear not to tell anyone, it will always get back to the one being talked about.

And something most people haven’t quite grasped yet is that there is a difference between talking about someone and worrying about someone. It’s understandable if someone knows a secret that could possibly harm someone else physically or emotionally and needs to confide in someone that can be trusted to help in the situation. We’re human and no matter how old we are we will never be able to take the weight of the world alone on our shoulders.

What seems to happen, though, is that when we confide in someone that we believe can help and that we believe we can trust they don’t always live up to our expectations. People talk no matter where you go. It’s a conversation starter for some people. “Did you hear about what so-and-so told me about so-and-so?” Most people don’t value and respect the relationship of a confider and a confide-e anymore. So it’s difficult to figure out who can be trusted with the secrets that are eating away at you on the inside. How do you know if the person you’re confiding in is going to keep this between the two of you? You don’t. And it takes a while to learn this.

I’m a second year college student, and I’m still learning that I can’t always trust the people that I surround myself with. A simple solution could be just not to hang around these people, but that’s impossible when you share an organization with them or when you live in the same building or when you have the same classes. It’s difficult trying to decide who is trustworthy and who are the people that you can have fun with but not connect with on an emotionally deeper level.

Over the summer, I had a close friend. She would call me almost every night and talk to me. She would tell me all of the gossip going on back up at school while I was at home and she’d tell me all about her problems and worries. As the weeks passed, I began noticing a trend. She wouldn’t ask about me; if I tried bringing up something relating to myself, she would almost instantly shut the conversation down to talk about something in her life. She would spend hours complaining about people who had once been close friends, revealing to me all of their secrets that they had confided to her. When I met a boy whom I began to like, her first words “He’s ugly.” When she met a close friend of mine for the first time all she had to say about her was “She smells weird.” Now having a close relationship with someone who knocks down anything or anyone you like is very difficult to maintain. So at the beginning of the new semester, I chose to distance myself. I couldn’t be around someone who only ever injected negativity into my life. I would still be her friend, but I didn’t want to hang around her constantly. She grew angry because of this, and instead confronting me about why I wasn’t hanging out with her every day anymore, she went to other people. She began spreading lies, trying to make herself look like a victim. I found out that this wasn’t the first time she had done this. She continued to tell people false things about me. Her ultimate goal was to make people hate me. So she spread lies.

This was not a true friend, nor was she ever. Not everyone will like me. I know that. But what bothers me is that girls think spreading lies about others will make themselves feel better, like she did. She could have just talked to me, and I could have talked to her. I know that I tried explaining to her how I felt, but she would never truly listen to what I had to say. And when she believed things had turned bad she became vicious just like she had done to the others before.

I pity her. I really do. Because she is lacking that much self-esteem that she has to try to trash other people’s reputations in order to feel better about her own. She was trying to get to me, make me upset, and I admit that I was at first. I cried when I found out she was spreading lies and making others think of me in that negative way. Then I realized it doesn’t matter. I learned a lesson. I trusted the wrong person, and now I have to be strong and show people that I’m not the girl she’s attempting to make me out to be. I have to just hold on and be confident in myself. Because, though I’m still trying to figure out who I am, I do know my values and loyalties and those aren’t ever going to change.

I know that I am the kind of person who will always tell the truth when it’s a situation that matters. I’m not going to sit here and preach that I’m some saint who has never lied before. Of course, I’ve told probably over one hundred lies in my lifetime. Lies to protect me when I’m scared; lies to get out of situations I really don’t want to be in. But I know how to tell the truth to someone’s face. I know when the truth is important, and I would never tell a lie in order to hurt someone.

I know that I am the kind of person who respects people and the things they do. I may not agree with everyone’s choices, but I’m understanding of them. I’ve made choices in my life that I’m not happy about, and I had to live with them and deal with them on my own. Everyone has their own burdens, and we’re all going to slip up at times. If it’s a slip up that is truly worrisome, I would want someone to worry enough about me to approach me about it or confide in someone that would talk to me.

I know that I am the kind of person who will not gossip just because I’m bored with my own life. Everyone has his or her own business. I know I have my own business going on. Try to imagine that every time you air someone else’s dirty laundry that you’re also airing your own at the same time. And know if you absolutely have to tell someone, confide in a family member. It’s what I do. They don’t even know these people that I vent about, but they listen, give advice, and it makes me feel better. It keeps me from spreading things that are hurtful to others.

I know that I am the kind of person who would support anyone that needed help. I’m not going to just abandon someone in a time of need. I may not always have the best advice, it may even be cliché at times, but I’ll be there. I’ll volunteer my time when no one else wants to, and I won’t leave anyone or anything until I’m sure that there is nothing left to be done.

I know that I am the kind of person who forgives. It may be challenging but it’s not always impossible. The only stipulation is that I will never forget what happened.

People will always try to tell me who I am. They will always try to tell others the kind of person I am, but the thing everyone needs to realize is that we should never listen to second-hand information because our sources aren’t always that reliable. People unconsciously twist information in their heads: they forget important details and gloss over the positive because we are a society that focuses on negativity.

If there’s anything to take away from all of this, it’s this: Don’t let other people define you or your opinion on anyone else. Be wary of who you’re trusting and the information you’re getting. And if you find out anyone is talking negatively about you, either confront them about it or recognize that they’re doing it out of spite or jealously or boredom. They aren’t worth your time, and don’t ever let them affect the things you do.

“Lions don’t loose sleep over the opinions of sheep.”