Small Town Business

After living in a city for most of my life, I recently moved to a small town. One of the most common complaints you hear in a small town is: “Everybody knows your business.” It’s a widespread feeling, but it’s really not valid, if you think about it. Nobody knows your business unless you tell it to them. If you care enough about the person you’re telling to inform him of something personal and sensitive — well, then, that’s good; he should know. But if you don’t even know the person who has formed an opinion about you … then on what basis, exactly, could that opinion have been formed? People get caught up in hating the fact that others think poorly of them. But what are those opinions based on? Almost always, nothing.

Because the person holding that negative opinion about you has no basis for holding it. The person holding the opinion about you knows only a few facts — or maybe no actual facts — about you. The opinion is unsupportable; and yet you still care about it? It makes no sense. The only opinion that matters, in the end, is the one you hold about yourself. A close second are the opinions of those you know well; who know you well; and whose values and reasoning you respect. Beyond that, caring about what others think is about as silly as superstition.