One thing I learnt today was that sometimes, letting things slide and being passive isn’t healthy. You need to put your foot down and shout, “No, this isn’t right!”
If a situation happens to you that makes you feel awful – a friend says something hurtful, you get treated badly or you don’t want to do something – staying quiet might make things worse. Yes, it can be good to compromise on situations and to forgive but you shouldn’t do it all the time. That’s detrimental to you. It’s not fair on you either.
Say someone says something about you behind your back and you hear this from a friend. Another example is if your friends want to do something but you’re utterly averse to the idea; either that or you hear a passing mean comment about you in the corridor. Do you walk on and block your ears? Do you let it slide because you hate confrontation? A lot of people would do that and that’s totally understandable (I hate arguments or the prospect of them too) but think: should you stay silent? In a situation where your life is in danger and you may be hurt, the consequences can be a lot more serious and you should talk to someone immediately if you need help. However, in every day situations, let your mind remember that being passive shouldn’t be your default option.
Like me, if you’re ordinarily someone who doesn’t like confrontation and so doesn’t speak up, breaking that cycle can just emphasise the importance of your point. Whether you’re known for directly saying what you think, it can give you a measure of power over the situation. You’re telling the person that you don’t accept this; you’re letting them know that you won’t just roll over and let them control how you feel. If it’s serious enough to make you speak about it, then they should take note of how much it took for you to say something and therefore realise what a shitty thing they did.
If you’re worried about the consequences – as I always am – let me reassure you. In most cases, you telling whoever you need to tell how you feel won’t result in a permanent falling out. Don’t worry about hurting them although I know that won’t stop the anxiety. My sister, who is one of the most sensible people when it comes to this thing that I know, told me that sometimes people need to know they’ve been petty or awful. There may be some disagreement if that happens, know that it can actually make them think about your point of view and treat you better in the future. If they don’t listen and an argument ensues, maybe they aren’t such a considerate person after all. It’s not your fault if you want to voice your opinion. It’s not up to you how they respond and if they respond negatively to you standing up for yourself, I have to say it bluntly: think about whether you really want to be as close to them as you thought. I understand how hard it is, especially when you’re paranoid about losing friends, but you can’t push your happiness aside in order to appease someone else or avoid an argument.
The fact is, you’re human and can only take so much before you break. I know it’s difficult but it’s far better to break and show someone else just how upset you are than internalise that sadness and anger. I speak from experience when I say that misplaeed anger is one of the worst things that can happen to you because it leaves you feeling hollow and empty, without any kind of closure. Your humanity makes it really understandable as to why you’d want to say something: listen to your instincts.
You aren’t a doormat. You aren’t to be controlled; you aren’t someone who should be trodden on or victimised. Don’t let yourself be victimised because otherwise, people will think it’s okay to treat you like that. My Head of Year told me, today, that I should start to speak more and assert myself: I’m giving that advice to you too because you should never be treated like some kind of object or something to be thrown around.
Find your inner voice and use it in the real world. You’re strong enough to tell even the closest person to you that no: you’re not okay with this.
Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to speak up but couldn’t? How about in the reverse: have you ever spoken up in a situation and had good consequences stem from it? How did it make you feel?
From Elm 🙂