Tea, Gos, and Self-Esteem

Spilling Tea

Once upon a time, we could have tea and spill it when we bumped into neighbours at the grocery store or at the hair dressers. It was a simpler time when the gos(sip) was limited to the number of people your aunt knew and met with during the course of a day, as she went about her business of learning new gos for tea and spilling tea as she chatted with someone NOT in the know.

Magazines and newspapers helped broaden our targets to gos about, the royal family, the celebrities, and politicians. They know that public scrutiny of their lives comes with the territory of being famous. They often cultivated their public image carefully, showing their best side, painstakingly prepared and practiced. It was like a shining beacon of what one can accomplish if one worked hard enough to be rich and famous.


Once reality shows started to get into our living rooms every week, people got famous for being famous. Those who leveraged their fame for riches also then opened themselves to the worshipping as well as criticisms that come with being a common topic amongst the general population.

When the Internet came and became the equalizer of all, people could share their talents and messages through email, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram… we were able to have brain to brain communication with people! That means just like talking to someone in person, we could talk to them virtually at any time, 24/7!

The problem is that there was anonymity, which seemed to bring out the worst in people as they criticized freely, never having to have true conversations that required listening and understanding a different perspective. These people seem to make it sport to figure out the funniest most hurtful thing to say in response to someone’s post.

Anyone who posted anything up publicly instantly made themselves vulnerable to strong critiques that could get very personal and mean.

Perfect Life

On the other end of the spectrum are the people who create these perfect pictures that depict an effortless moment of perfection. The perfect light, flawless make up, dustless house, immaculately plated health food, and the happy children. Those moments captured on film seem to reflect their lives: wonderful, easy and beautiful. If you are mentally healthy, you say, wow, that’s cool. If I like it, I’ll work for it. If you are not mentally healthy, you judge yourself and say, damn, I’m a loser because I don’t live that way. If you in the second group, you start interpreting all the perfect photos to mean that everyone else is doing great and I am not.


The reality is that some people are better off than others.

The reality is that there are ups and downs.

The reality is that some of those photos take numerous bad shots to capture the nano second of perfection.

The reality is for everyone one person who ‘makes it’ many others don’t quite, using the exact same formula.

The reality is that there will always be people on a huge range from one extreme to the other. And a lot of it is normal, which makes imperfection very normal.

The reality is only we can decide what is normal for us or what is desirable for us.

The reality is, statistically speaking, there are always more people who are ‘not perfect’.

The reality is that perfection isn’t a static state anyway. Our goal of perfection will keep moving as we live, learn, and change.

The reality is even the people who look like they have perfect lives have problems.

Back to Tea

Having tea with someone is lovely if we are doing it to connect. But if we are connecting over nasty gossip, putting other people down to make ourselves feel better, or to spread negative thoughts about a person, it isn’t make the world a better place and it certainly isn’t going to bring good karma back to us!

Let’s go back to tea as a way to share a moment together and get to know each other. Let’s leave the spilling tea out of it and forget about the gos.

Published by Sherry Yuan Hunter

Sherry Yuan Hunter is a certified trauma recovery coach and certified parenting coach. Taiwan-born American-Canadian Chinese, married, working mother of two, Sherry identifies as a Sandwich Parent, Third Culture Kid, an untigering Mom, and Recovering Shouldaholic. Based in Toronto, Canada, Sherry has been working in student success programs at University of Toronto for 20 years, supporting students, young professionals, new managers, working moms, and new immigrants to success.

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