Compare, not Contrast

Kelsey - Benton, Arkansas
Entered on March 20, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe, no, I know, that gossip hurts no matter your age, gender, or who you are.

Looking back at myself a few years ago, I see a girl of 11 years old. Naïve, overwhelmed, but mostly terrified. Being the “new girl,” I had to make new friends, meet new teachers, and deal with a new kind of drama that comes with being in middle school. Being extremely nervous pushed me to extreme measures: gossiping about others to protect myself. Constantly putting others down because of my vulnerability, the only thing I had in common with most of my “friends” was gossip. I was finally beginning to find where I belonged, but I felt a hollow space in the corner of my heart that was slowly pushing against my hope of popularity. Lacking certainty, I had nothing solid to stand for. I thought I knew where I fit in, but I’d had no idea. One day, I overheard a so-called friend talking about me. It was false but soon enough my group ridiculed me for something untrue. I was hurt and walked away trying to pretend I never heard anything. But I walked away with a new realization. Gossip hurts. Badly.

Over the years, I’ve had more epiphanies that have helped me add to that realization. One, gossiping hurts me because it makes me wonder what others are saying about me. Gossiping works both ways. It makes me feel self-conscious and question friendships, family, and everything in my life. Two, gossip is the greatest widespread killer. We’ve all seen reputations destroyed as fast as a text message can travel from one place to the next. It isn’t necessary for me to feed a story that could ruin someone’s life. Lastly, just because I call someone dumb doesn’t make me any smarter, and saying she is terrible at what she does doesn’t make me any better at what I do. Pointing out the flaws in others doesn’t hide my own.

We all have faults, no matter what methods we use or how hard we try to conceal them. When we add it up, we all have our qualities, good and bad, that always remains underneath all the facades and glamour. Everyone has a different ratio of good to bad, but that is what makes us who we are.

Even though we all make our comparison everyday, that doesn’t change the fact that we are just hiding the ways we contrast from the in crowd. Some can’t wait to proclaim someone else’s secrets, but I have learned that it’s best to mind my own business. Because I struggle with the temptation like everyone else does, I remember a bible verse that states, “Before you remove a speck in your neighbor’s eye, you must remove the plank from your own.” I believe in accepting others as they are, no matter how hard it can be. Then I can believe in myself and focus on being my own personal best.