A Bad Mouth

“I’m surrounded by people, but there’s no one I can open up to and share my troubles with… I wish someone could give me the answers I need.”

If this sounds like something you’d say, ask our M.o.M. Suh Yoon! Email us at ask@yoooon.com. We’ll publish the best questions with Suh Yoon’s answers here in YooooN magazine.

 

Q: I work for an ad agency. A while ago, I’d just finished a successful project and was having some beers with my teammates before heading home when I suddenly got a message from my coworker Jessica.

“Did you see Brandon’s tweet just now? I think he meant you.”

I could have fallen out of my chair in shock when I saw the tweet.

“R said his idea was the best. He pretends it was so perfect, but I heard he got a present from the company he cooperated with behind our backs.”

Anyone reading it would know it was about me. The only people on our team with the initial R were me and our secretary Rachael. But I hadn’t done anything unethical. I was perplexed and embarrassed.

I took a deep breath and calmed myself. Upon further reflection, I could guess why Brandon had written that. We were competing for a promotion at the time. The team kept choosing my ideas and things seemed to be going my way. I had seen Brandon frown recently when a client praised me. Still, how could he do this?

I called him right away, but he didn’t answer. I stayed up that night, full of rage. Brian was unabashed when I saw him at the office the next day.

“What’s the problem? I don’t even remember writing that. I think I was drunk. Why are you being so hypersensitive? Anyway, I deleted it, so quit worrying.”

Everyone at the company had already heard about the tweet. I could hear the whispers behind my back while I was in the canteen. I found one of our managers and explained, “I’m innocent. I never got so much as a glass of water from that company.”

The manager replied, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. We need to find out who’s telling the truth.”

I was mortified and furious because of this gossip when I’d never done anything wrong. My promotion could have gone down the drain. I might even have a hard time changing jobs later because of the rumor. What should I do?

-Rory from Seattle

 

A: There are soulful expressions in what you’ve written. These kinds of powerful energies give words power. As a Chinese classic says, “Words that bless are a thousand pieces of gold, but words that hurt cut like a knife.” Another Chinese book states that, “When illness enters the mouth, calamity exits.”

Words are considered an important factor in the science of destiny. Careless words prevent opportunities for good fortune and can destroy relationships you’ve worked hard to develop. Praise waters the seeds of good fortune, but slander plants the seeds of bad luck.

If you, like Rory, suffer as a result of careless words, make your position clear first. Don’t waste any time revealing the truth on an office message board or something similar. If you’ve sustained severe damage as a result of malicious gossip, it may be worth thinking about restoring your reputation, e.g. through a lawsuit.

Next, don’t dwell too long on the incident, but move forward. Careless words are like arrows that return to the person who spoke them. The person who slandered you is already dealing with bad luck, so don’t become trapped by resentment or a victim mentality. You’ll only hurt yourself by doing so.

If, on the other hand, you’re in trouble because of your own habit of speaking carelessly or making slips of the tongue, reflect on that situation carefully. People often don’t mince words when feeling negative emotions. That’s why it’s best to coolly examine your own feelings when you said what you did. Next, consider what relationship you have with that person and what the situation was. You need to assess the cause and outcome of that situation to avoid making the same mistake again.

Suh Yoon's Quotes

“Careless words prevent opportunities for good fortune and can destroy relationships you’ve worked hard to develop.”

“Careless words are like arrows that return to the person who spoke them. The person who slandered you is already dealing with bad luck, so don’t become trapped by resentment or a victim mentality.”