Thursday Thoughts – 17/09/20

Something I get asked about quite often is “can I fix my reputation?” Those who ask are adult women who have had negative comments and lies spread about them, thus ruining their reputation.

It isn’t just school yard gossip, you would think once people had left school they would be adult enough not to resort to such actions. But the advent of social media has given people a platform on which to spew their gossip and lies.

It’s alarming to think that adults would resort to such tactics to harm the reputation of someone whom they dislike, or just act maliciously to remain popular.

Often people get told just to ignore the rumours and lies and gossip that has been spread about them, after all, this is what we are always told to do from an early age.

Quite frankly, I think this is part of the problem. That old adage sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me is used from the formative years of our lives. We are being told to accept the bad behaviour of other people and just carry on as normal.

That never really works.

Once we reach adulthood we have a distorted sense of what is right and wrong when it comes to how we should treat other people, and how we should react – or not act. When we decide to take matters into our own hands and retaliate with some home truths about the gossip, we become the bully.

So is it any wonder people are seeking to repair their reputation?

I’ve talked to quite a few people about this and the jury is still out. There are those people who want more than anything to repair the damage to their reputation, and there are those people who shrug it all off. Either way is fine and neither way is better than the other.

I’ve found that a sullied reputation can often be based on gossip, lies, and misinformation. It isn’t necessarily always lies that ruin a person’s reputation either, quite often it is a lack of the correct information about the person or their circumstances that lead to gossiping and the ruin of their reputation.

It’s not always worth the time and effort to go around fixing your reputation, especially for strangers. They are unlikely to know much, or even care what is being shared about you.

But what about people you don’t know, but are connected to you through work, your personal life, the school where your children attend? Maybe it is worth fixing your image. Shying away from the problem isn’t going to make it go away, so proceeding down this route is probably the best option for you.

If you want to proceed with fixing your reputation then you should start a damage control campaign. But how do you go about this?

First and foremost you really need to assess the situation. You need to take stock of what is being said about you and look at why. If you have acted in the wrong make sure you apologise for your behaviour. Admitting you are wrong and owning up to your mistakes is a great action step, proving you are sincere in your efforts to rectify the situation.

If you have been acting in a negative way towards someone, or if you are acting in a harmful way then this needs to stop immediately. You need to be acting from a place of truth and in order to do so you must put all negative behaviour behind you and focus on acting in a positive way.

The next step is to ask for feedback from your family and trusted friends. Ask them if you have acted in the wrong, do they believe this was intentional, or do they know you made a mistake? Tell them what is happening, as upsetting as it might be to repeat any lies or half-truths about yourself, sharing them with someone you trust really helps determine if it is a case of misinformation about you, or indeed lies and gossip.

Start a DAMAGE CONTROL CAMPAIGN/REPUTATION REPAIR PLAN as soon as possible. Write down an actionable plan that you can work on to show you in the best possible light.

Own up to any mistakes and misunderstandings you have made. Sometimes what we don’t know or understand can lead to us being gossiped about, which isn’t really fair, but it happens nevertheless. If you’re in the wrong, own it.

Make amends for any mistakes, misunderstandings, or negative behaviours you have engaged in. This is quite a tough one. Sometimes people aren’t willing to give us a second chance, or they don’t believe that we really did act unintentionally. All you can do is stay positive, act positive, and keep on showing that you are not your mistakes.

It’s always worthwhile in engaging in positive behaviour. This can shed doubt on any untrue claims and lies someone is making about you. Act kindly. Be positive. Do good deeds. Actions like this show that you are sincere. But don’t give up if you don’t succeed at first. Some people will think that what you are doing is all an act and they will be waiting for you to make a mistake.

Don’t gossip or bad mouth people. This can be really tempting to do, especially when someone is letting rip about you. If needs be, take a break from social media. Change your social circle if the gossip is happening within it. Remember, everyone will be watching you, waiting for you to set a foot wrong, so let your best self shine through.

And finally, it is worthwhile to remember that sometimes a bad reputation is more about the person doing the damage than it is about you. It doesn’t stop the hurt though.

Always be kind. It costs nothing.

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