How To React To Someone Talking Behind Your Back?

Question:

Adam, I have a question for you: happy to post on line. How does one react or should one respond at all to finding out a 'friend' has talked about you behind your back. Not exactly nasty or big secrets but something personal. I would really like your take on it. Happy to share on your page!

 

Response:

Don’t react. you don’t have to

But if a reaction is there, that’s fine too. If a reaction is already there, or “negative” feelings arise, do nothing to argue against them or condemn them, or say that they should not be there. 

Instead, stop labelling your experience, whether you think it is good or bad, spiritual or unspiritual. These are all just ideas.

Don’t make rules for yourself. You may feel tied up if you believe the right thing to do is confront the person or explain yourself or somehow manage it or take care of it. When really, you don’t have to do anything.

If you feel moved to act in a certain moment, then that is fine as well, but you don’t have to solve anything. Leave it alone, and then if any action is required, it happens without you even needing to plan for it. By itself.

From a practical point of view, anyone who bitches about you is not worth even one thought, and anyone who believes random stories about you is not worth your bother either. 

If you experience any repetitive or painful thoughts around all of this, simply see that they don’t solve anything, without condemning them.

Neutrally notice futility.

Trying to control what other people think, how they react or what they say is a mighty burden, and a basically impossible task. I don’t often use the word impossible, but people think what they like before you can even react to it, so it is not in your control in the first place. Not only is it futile to try to control people’s opinions, but it is absolutely exhausting.

You don’t have to be anyone’s manager. Leave the burden to them.

The obvious spiritual question is: who are they talking about? When people talk about you, what exactly do they mean? Do they mean your body? Do they mean your mind? Do they mean all of it? What are they talking about? Just an idea, with a name attached?