Here's something I know: If your heart is always in a good place, if you always live with the intention of NOT hurting others, you never have to be afraid of speaking your truth.
When we are the target of gossip, or when we hurt another's feelings unintentionally, if we are absolutely sure our intentions were not malicious, we can never be afraid to address the issues directly.
In the past, I have always been deathly afraid of confrontation, mostly because I knew my heart wasn't always in the right place. I did do things to hurt others, or to leave them out. I did act in ways that did not live up to my highest ideals for myself. But I don't do that anymore.
These days, I live with a pure heart and with the intention to cause no harm. Sometimes I do cause harm, though, but it is not because I set out to do so. In all cases, it is a mistake.
Sometimes others are hurt by my mistakes. Or are annoyed by them. They may act in ways that are unforgiving and unkind. But because I know there was no malice in my heart, I can voice my truth without guilt.
My heart and mind are free to address the situation calmly and with a firm grasp on my emotions, whatever they may be: anger, hurt, sorrow, fear.
This doesn't mean that I allow myself to engage in malicious talk, gossip, name-calling, or other deeply negative actions in order to avenge my hurts. That would only make me bitter and mean. I discuss my feelings with the person at the center of the misunderstanding, the person who I've committed a mistake against, the person gossiping about me.
And when I allow myself the gift of releasing my negative emotions, I don't have to be bogged down by them. I can let them go, give them up, and go back to living with a whole heart.
The whole point of personal transformation is to live with integrity in as many ways as possible. To always do the right thing. But we have to understand we are also human. We make mistakes as we interact with others in the world. However, when we decide that we are going to live with integrity, we have to figure out how to also have integrity to ourselves. We must make sure we are always kind to ourselves. And so it is important not to be a pushover when others might be unkind, but it is also important not to perpetuate the negativity.