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`Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.

The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.’

Abraham Lincoln

Most people have been the target of gossips in one form or another in the course of their lives. It is a matter of the amount of toxic content of the gossips and slanders. What is more important is to what extent the victim allows the gossips to affect and transform his or her life. One must be aware and understand the  nature of the gossips and draw the boundary lines that separate reality, myths and lies (the stuff manufactured by one’s imagination) . Once one has defined the realities and virtual realities of one’s adversed circumstances, then one can choose the kind of appropriate responses to minimize the negative impact of the gossips.

By their very nature, most gossips will go away and they are to be regarded as a form of illusion. However their negative impact is real and long-lasting  if one allows the gossips to disturb  their mental health and their peace of mind. Gossips act like termites in attacking buildings. The termites feed voraciously at the wooden components of a building silently and insidiously. You can sense it but you cannot see it or hear it. You only know where the termites have done their jobs when you knock on the surface and the response is a hollow sound. It is the same in human relationships. When a person or friend who has been infected by the vicious virus of gossip or slander, the relationship becomes hollow and meaningless devoid of sincerity and authenticity.  The tragedy of the social consequences of vicious gossips is that the innocent ones  appear as guilty as the convicted ones. No proof is needed and no explanation is necessary. It is so simple and easy to convict a person based on hearsay.

To be trapped in the midst of an insidious messy gossip campaign triggered by external factors  is a frightening thing and it can easily trigger a deep sense of helplessness. One’s initial reactions would be to do a self-examination to assess other people’s body language and social interaction. The unfortunate thing about gossips is that some of us have a strong tendency to judge ourselves more harshly than the mistake merits. That means we tend to exaggerate our past mistakes and let our guilt  and imagination blow things out of proportion.   Such a person will tend to be a much harsher judge on himself or herself than the world out there. In this way, the person who is more vulnerable and sensitive will be hurt much more than an insensitive person.

On the other hand, there are  some people who may try to deny their mistakes  and minimize the significance of their mistakes. Such people will probably suffer less emotional hurt at the hand of the gossipers. They tend to downplay the negative social impact of the gossips. On the plus side, they will be able to remain calm until the whole thing blows over. Their inner calm will enable them to appraise things more accurately before making a hasty decision which will aggravate their situations. Never make a radical decision or take a drastic step when you are under tremendous social or psychological pressure because it is very difficult to make a good informed decision when you look at things through cracked or flawed lenses.

An awareness of the situation you are in is important. Even more important is an awakened awareness of yourself, your emotional responses and your perception. Once you have obtained the necessary information about yourself, then it is possible to brainstorm on a range of possible responses and select the most positive response.

Try to see your mistake as well as the gossips in their proper perspectives. If your mistake has caused somebody harm, make the necessary amends to rectify the situation. Never try to justify something evil with a righteous intention. What is black is black, white is white! Your interpretation, however crafty, will not improve your situation or your life. That is why it is important to see things as it is and not what you want to see. Always beware of the deviousness of your mind that can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven. Adopting a defensive mindset and a flawed perception will not improve your life and make it wholesome.

Food for Thought

Be Yourself. Accept yourself as you are. But that does not mean that  you have no room for improvement or that you are already perfect. See things in the right perspective. Stay calm and don’t be paranoid or panicky in your responses.

“Whatever anyone else says or does, I must be true to myself, just as if gold or emerald or the color purple would say, “Whatever anyone may do or say, I must be an emerald and keep my color.”

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor & philosopher

`Actively plant positive seeds in the garden of your mind and weed out any negatives as soon as they appear. As soon as you are aware of a negative entering your mind, nip it in the bud.’

Lynda Field, `Ways To Heal Yourself’

Submitted by Philosaiki YK


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Coping With Shame in An Adventurous Spirit

`The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking

new landscapes, but in having new eyes.’             Marcel Proust

We should adopt an adventurous spirit to cope with shame. Conventional approaches will not be adequate in managing our shame.  A spirit of adventure is not necessarily found in travels because it can occur in both motion and stillness. When we are attracted to adventure, it is our desire to experience ourselves in fresh ways.  Firstly, we can do this by traveling to new places where we give ourselves a chance to break out of our cycle of preoccupation with the shameful episodes. In new places, we don’t have get occasional stares from other  people to remind us or give us a `flashback’ to something or mistake that we would like to forget. When we are in a new place, we become unknown `nobodies’ with a new sense of freedom. When our minds are relaxed and released from the oppressive shackles of toxic shame, we tend to look at things very differently.

During travels, we don’t take ourselves seriously. And that is a good effective coping skill. Secondly, we can also experience ourselves in fresh ways by instilling a sense of inner calm by practicing meditation or tai-chi or yoga. In this state of being, we can surprise ourselves and discover in fresh ways the mystery of who we really are.

An effective way of coping with cold stares is to pretend not to notice anything unusual. It takes two hands to clap. If you stare back in anger, then you have fallen into the trap of your enemies who want to use their stares to aggravate you. If you want to respond, do it unconventionally. I did that once when many years ago, when a stranger in a restaurant stared at me. What I did stunned him. I just waved my hand and smiled back at him. He was taken by surprise and felt bad. So he smiled back. Both of us could eat our meals without upsetting our stomachs.

Never lose your temper or pick up a fight over a cold stare. It will only make things worse. That has happened all the time when a cold stare can easily trigger a fight resulting in the death of someone. It is a very dangerous thing to do in public places when you don’t know whom you are staring at! It could be a potential murderer!  Always remember that nobody likes to be stared at! It is a confrontational hostile act displayed by your body language! And hate always breeds hate! I have experienced that kind of rising anger that could result in violence! Remember to keep calm at all times so that you have your peace of mind.

Submitted by Philosaiki

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The ancient Chinese Taoist philosophy has provided these three great gifts- simplicity, patience and compassion for yourself- for the Chinese people in particular and mankind in general to help them to overcome the adversities and human conditions in this difficult life.


Be aware that you need to see yourself, your life and your problems in simple terms that you can understand. Life can be very simple. Don’t make it too complicated. It is up to you- KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid! (McDonald’s motto for success.) If you want to cope with your problems, you should adopt a simple approach that is meaningful to you. Always be aware because a state of awakened awareness will enable you to understand your problems and your emotional template that makes you tick. This state of awareness will provide you insights into your problems and your life. The right insights will prompt you to make the appropriate positive response to your problems. This formula -AIR (Aware-Insight-Response) will show you how to make the master-key to open the dungeon and release you from your addiction of shame.


It takes time to understand your emotional template and your life. Don’t be angry with yourself. Give yourself time to change your toxic emotions and habits. You may have stumbled and made the same mistakes in your life over and over again. You seem to have repeated the same mistakes so many times that you cant’t understand why you don’t have the will-power to learn from your mistakes. Many of us have experienced the same problems. The real cause of our failure to control ourselves lies in your human condition and your built-in flaws that simply mystify you. The more impatient, the more angry you are with yourself and your mistakes, the worse your situation will become. To change your shortcomings, you have to accept your mistakes and flaws as they are. Once you have accepted them without any denial or blame, then you can acknowledge  them and change yourself. All this change process takes time and that is why patience is so crucial. Patience means it is okay to fall again and again. Patience means you can pick yourself up without getting frustrated or angry with yourself. Patience means you can learn from your mistakes and then carry on without giving up the fight. Learn from the Scottish King, Bruce, who had learned a valuable lesson of patience and persistence from a tiny spider. King Bruce won his crown through his patience and persistence.

Compassion For Yourself

It means you need to nurture empathy and love for yourself so that you can become your own best friend. First be aware that God loves you unconditionally regardless of who you are or whatever wrong you may have committed in your life. It is okay. God accepts you as you are -with all your scars on your body or your soul. Still God loves you on your terms- just as you are. Whatever God wants you to do is to love yourself just as He loves you. No `ifs’ and no `buts’. You must accept  yourself unconditionally. Just simple unconditional acceptance of who you are as a person with many flaws. If you can accept yourself and be kind to yourself, then God’s grace will flow into your life to work wonders. The only barrier to God’s grace coming into your life is your lack of self-worth. This is the real toxin -a wounded self-esteem with no self-worth at all- a toxic feeling of unworthiness that you don’t deserve God’s love and grace. With this terrible toxic of unworthiness in your soul, you have become your own worst enemy because it is you who will reject His love.

So it is important that you must simply change your perception of your self-worth. If God can love you so much without any pre-conditions, surely you are a person of great value. God can see your true worth because He can see through your layers of deep inferiority. He can see that at the core of your being, you are, in reality, a rough diamond. What is needed is some suffering to rub away the mud and dirt that is stuck onto the diamond. So don’t believe your negative perception and the negative self-talk that hammer your self-worth everyday. It is time to be your own best friend by loving yourself just as God loves you- without any conditions at all. You are worthy to receive God’s love and grace simply because you are a human being- a child of God with His divine image imprinted on your soul.

Submitted by David YKK