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July 5, 2023

“I’ve heard a lot about you.” What does that mean, exactly?

“There’s a lot I’ve heard about you…not all of it is good.”

Ever heard a statement like this before?

How many of us have withstood blindsiding, indirect, and hostile comments, like this one? You and I know there’s a statement thrown down. But it’s vague. There usually isn’t any specific issue addressed.

We are just left feeling slapped in the face, confused, and disrespected.

And that is usually the intention.

Let’s break the statement down a bit.

“There’s a lot….”

“A lot.”


All or nothing?

No room for a mixed bag of being human?

The argument is presented to us; we are overwhelmingly wrong. Maybe we’re referred to as an expletive. Maybe it’s a round of name-calling. The presentation is often that we have such undeniable evidence that we are sinful, awful, bad, and inexcusable. We are made wrong, no matter what we do or do not do. It is not enough. It is not acceptable.  It is not the agreed-upon standard.

We don’t measure up.

“You’d be surprised how many people know you just from someone hating on you.”

This is more than just a post on social media; it’s a universal life truth.

Concerning the aspect of “There’s a lot,” it is many times tied to a group think about us.

It’s the verdict from “other.” Much of the time, this “other” has never even met us. They don’t know us; they certainly don’t know the full backstory of who we are. They don’t know what has made us who we are. They can afford to judge from the periphery. Therefore, one story and one recollection from one or two people can quickly turn into “a lot,” which is just code for “everything” to us, no exceptions, whatsoever.

And, there’s still more ammunition loading the statement…

“…I’ve heard…”

We have now moved from an inaccurate assessment that “everything” is wrong with us, to the expert of, perhaps, one individual who has this undeniable proof, because, after all, they have “heard.”

“I’ve heard” can quickly, unfairly, and harshly turn into “I’ve decided I am infallible about who you are.”

“You’d be surprised how many people know you just from someone hating on you.”

Hearsay. Gossip. Lies. One-sided. Agenda.

Word of mouth. What is it? Praiseworthy and flattering? Or slanderous, mean-spirited, and rejecting?

If/when someone else claims to know you and I, completely and accurately, it often stems from what was said about us, not what they experienced of us.

And let’s be real; often, other people are not interested in learning the truth of who we are. To do that requires effort, work, time, investment, empathy, and recognition of humanity’s imperfections.

A lot of people aren’t interested in participating in that work and effort.

It’s much easier to just write a person off instead. Someone says something about us. A person hears that. And they make a choice. Believe it, without question, or critically think, challenge, and embrace the full story.

We are all capable of forgoing the latter option. Each of us can follow the path of least resistance.

The “heard” aspect of what is said about you and me, however, often has a more sinister tone to it. Human beings can take delight in hearing a bad report about a person. Feeling superior to someone else’s “inferior” status can be validating and entertaining in the darkest ways.

There can be fun and satisfaction when one person sees us only in a bad light.

“I’ve heard” becomes the judge, jury, and executioner. There’s no room for “I’ve seen,” “I’ve experienced;” and “I’ve allowed for human complexity.”

Nope. “I’ve heard” is all that is needed.

And the emphasis returns to the familiar subject…

“…about you…”

No one else, no other party.

Just “you.”

No one else’s involvement or behavior is at play here.

You can hear the “ganging up upon” nature to this part of the statement, can’t you?

Yes, the reason for the behavior, the harsh words, the unpleasant response?

“You,” meaning, you and me, are at fault. The villain.

The blame is solely focused on us.

There is no talk and consideration of extenuating circumstances. No other person’s words and actions, or inactions, are held up to scrutiny.

Only ours.

“You’d be surprised how many people know you just from someone hating on you.”

It’s here where, usually, the curious, clueless, and meddling onlookers weigh in with their expert assessment: we are the only ones who are blameworthy.

No one else bears any responsibility.

We did this to ourselves.

We brought this on all by ourselves.

It’s our fault.

How quick and thorough this part of the sweeping judgment is decided against us, huh? How completely accurate, just, moral, and right it is in its determination.

We possess no ground on which to stand.

“Other” has ruled against us.

There is no going against the verdict.

And, there’s more…

“… not all of it…”

Again, all or nothing?

How about any of it?

That’s really what we’re getting at, isn’t it?

This part of the damning statement comes with a bit of a mind game twist, doesn’t it?

“You’d be surprised how many people know you just from someone hating on you.”

On the surface, it may appear that the person saying something like this is being rational, reasonable, and fair. “Not all of it” can appear to allow for a bigger picture.

But look closer.

There is no mention of specific good points or positive traits about us, is there? There is nothing that resembles constructive criticism.

“Here’s what you’re doing well; here’s what you need to work on.”

No, there’s NONE of that.

And there is no interest or pursuit coming from the condemning person learning anything deeper about us or the situation we are in, that is held in judgment, against us.

Nope. There is no interest. “They” know all they need to know. And “they” usually have little-to-no accurate information.

Forget details and nuances.

Generalizations, lies, and gross inaccuracies, favoring a certain agenda, are all that is needed. There is no need to learn more.

And there still is more. It’s a case of past, present, or future.


Present is the exact same as past or future, then?

It’s one wallop of a big sentiment in two little letters.


No consideration of “was” or “will be.”

Everything is attributed to the seemingly, current-day situation of a matter.

Here and now is all that counts.

“You’d be surprised how many people know you just from someone hating on you.”

The concept of backstory, history, generational patterns, and circumstances beyond our control, involving other people are lost, minimized, eradicated, and rewritten.

There is a payoff in doing that. The one who controls the narrative usually has a better opportunity to control other outcomes.

There can be personal and financial gain in that.

And let’s not forget the gain of securing and maintaining power that can benefit “other.”

Most toxic people do not want to relinquish that power benefit. It’s working too well for them to keep that benefit in place.

Finally, let’s look at the last part of this critical statement…


A subjective, specific, and judgmental estimation of what that word means.

Good versus bad.

Black and white thinking.

What is implied within this statement is how we are not good. There’s nothing “good” about us, our actions, our presence.

Perhaps we said “no,” instead of giving the much-preferred people pleasing response of “yes.”

Saying “no,” therefore, makes us “not good.”

Beyond that though. We are bad and evil. Selfish. Self-centered. We are those things. But “good?”

No. Nothing good about us.

“You’d be surprised how many people know you just from someone hating on you.”

Someone else’s agendas, opinions, expectations, and insecurities have decided how we are not “good.”

And even if/when we jump through every people pleasing hoop, putting ourselves in any form of personal, emotional, financial, and physical jeopardy, it still will not be enough.

Why not?

Because the intent was designed to never be enough.

It was already decided, without our knowledge or permission, so much of the time.

It was decided that “other” would trump “us.” It was decided that “other,” be it person, lack of information, or agenda, would trump “truth,” as well as what’s considered to be “fair” or “right.”

It was already decided… without our involvement or feedback.

What do you know about you?

Context. The complete story. Even facing the ugly truth.

What do you and I KNOW?

“You’d be surprised how many people know you just from someone hating on you.”

Part of our knowledge involves identifying who, and what, in our lives, is more of a destructive enemy than helpful support to us.

But again, it’s more than that.

We need to know ourselves and the certainty of our life experiences.

What was that?

We need to give ourselves our credibility. That withstands anyone else’s skewed, harmful, and inaccurate choices concerning us.

Knowing ourselves, being confident and unshakeable in that reality, is most important. It can weather what anyone else has to say about us.

We know our truth.

We are good, valuable, and valid because we have decided so.

And that’s enough.

Copyright© 2023 by Sheryle Cruse


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