Outlast it. Two simple words, but the only two words needed for you to get through some situations in life.
Everybody faces moments in which they feel under attack.
- A co-worker tells half-truths about a situation and now everyone at work thinks you are incompetent.
- You don’t respond to a situation the way you desire and now your reputation is in question.
- You have a horrible lapse in judgment and years of establishing your credibility is lost.
- In an attempt to justify themselves, someone spreads lies about you that have no basis in fact.
No one is immune from times in which they are lied about, looked down upon or doubted. Sometimes it’s the natural consequences of our own poor decisions. On other occasions, it is the unfortunate response to others doing horrible things to us. In most situations, it is the outcome of people not knowing all the information and making lazy judgments which are not fair.
Whatever the case, everyone must endure tough seasons when their relationships with others are tense, their self-confidence is shaken, and they feel as though they want to run and hide.
In these moments, the only answer is to outlast whatever criticism is coming your way. Allow time and the consistency of good choices to prove the lies are not true. It’s tempting to do other things. It doesn’t seem most effective to allow time to do its work. But it is the most effective strategy.
Don’t fight for your reputation…they won’t believe you. There are times in which we should stand up for ourselves. It’s OK to call actions wrong and say that others have not told the truth. However, in most cases, fighting for your reputation won’t work. People will believe what they want to believe. If someone asks, tell them your side. But if they don’t ask, don’t bother. Whatever you do, don’t use social media to post a defense. It draws the attention of others who previously didn’t care and it in no way changes the opinions of those who have already made up their mind.
Don’t degrade your accusers…it will rightly cause people to question you. My children have a pattern. When one pushes or yells at the other, the other pushes and yells back. My kids are just like yours. It’s what children do. Sadly, many adults do the same thing. Degrading others who are degrading you feels good in the moment, but is not a successful strategy. When others call you names, refuse to call them names in return. When others lie about you, refuse to slant your own truth. No matter how others are treating you, continue to consistently treat them with respect. Be careful and draw boundaries, but don’t stoop to their level of childish behavior.
Don’t give up…it will confirm the lies. The temptation to hide, stop engaging and give up are real when times are tough. But don’t do it. Opinions change. Attentions shift. Few things stay the same. Just because people are down on you today doesn’t mean they will be down on you tomorrow. If you quit—working, serving, loving, giving, contributing—people will assume the lies about were true or the flaws in your character were all-consuming. Quitting proves the accusers right. Continuing to do the right thing causes them to doubt. Over time, it will allow them to change their minds.
It’s the advice I give to:
A couple dealing with the heartbreak of an affair. The community may find out. If they do, they will talk. But outlast it.
A successful businessperson caught up in a questionable deal. Rumors may fly. Mistakes might have been made. Admit what you need to admit, but then outlast the rest.
A man embarrassed by a horrible mistake. Some will rejoice. Many will mock. But outlast their ridicule and make it past the days when yours is the name associated with failure.
By focusing on making wise choices, every day, and believing a day will come in which the truth will be revealed or a reputation will be restored, a person can endure a great deal of sorrow.
People will lie about you. They will doubt you. Some of it will be unfair. Other aspects of it will be the natural response to your mistakes. And you will make mistakes. But the only way for one event, one decision or one season to define you is if you allow it to. Instead, when others lie about you, look down upon you or doubt you, just outlast it.
The original article appeared here.