Friday, September 24, 2010

Fortune Friday 9.24.10: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

“Tell them what you really think.  Otherwise, nothing will change.” 

This is one of those 'easier-said-than-done' things...well, at least for someone like me who has self-assertion issues.  Though I've actually improved somehow, especially in the past year, I would have to admit that I probably would still avoid any sort of confrontation if I had some way out.  My normal tendencies are to either find someone else to speak up for me, or find some indirect, subtle way of expressing how I feel to the person concerned.  If both are not available to me, then I'm left to fester with those negative thoughts and feelings.  I'd have to admit that most of the time, I'm left with those negative feelings....fester, fester, fester.

In situations where our boundaries are crossed, in some way or another, we choose silence over self-assertion mainly because of fear.  We fear that speaking up will strain a valued relationship.  We fear that our feelings are not valid.  We fear embarrassment.  We fear attention.  We fear the possibility of aggression from the other person.  We fear isolation.

But could it also be that our greatest fear is to discover how strong we are?  And in discovering that strength, we fear rejection from others for daring to show ourselves in all our glory, with all that we're truly made of?  When we don't speak out and make our boundaries known, little by little we undermine ourselves.  Slowly but surely, we strip ourselves of power and allow others to ignore our spirit.  And believe me when I say that is probably the worst self-inflicted pain there is.  I have been to a place where I've felt utterly powerless and insignificant and it certainly bred an insidious illness.  Feeling like you don't matter, or what you think and have to say do not matter, can drive you to the depths of hopelessness and depression.  And once you realize how much all this is weighing you down, the only way to truly save yourself (and only YOU can save your self) is to find your voice.  As you learn to use that voice, hope will slowly re-appear, for you will see with such clarity that you have choices, you have power, and you have every right as everybody else to be heard and respected.  Through the boundaries you  establish, you show the world who you are, what you are about, what you will take and what you reject.

Those who don't respect others' boundaries are not evil least not all the time.  Sometimes, they just don't have a sense of such boundaries, while other times, they just never thought those things mattered to some people.  Whatever their reasons are, the fact is that boundaries get crossed because someone allows it to happen.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to have our selves show up, speak up and draw the line.  Again, easier said than done but it's always good to be at least reminded.  Maybe someday soon, I'll be brave every single time someone crosses the line and violates my sense of self.  

For now, allow me to just be selectively assertive while waiting for that day to come.  For now, an interesting list would have to suffice.  Here are a few things I would love to say to a few individuals (personally known or unknown) but still can't, for lack of some needed assertive muscles....

If you're in such a hurry and don't mind either (or both) getting pulled over by a cop or risking your life, then by all means, speed up and pass me up.  But for the love of God, quit riding my butt!!!

I love you.  But when you fail to check the time before calling and you end up calling at past 10 p.m. and it's nothing I can force to fall into my 'emergency' category, you have to agree that it's annoying.  Would you kindly glance at your clock before grabbing that phone at night?  
I think it's not cool to brag about the fact that the cashier at the store mistakenly gave you extra change, and a huge one at that, and you did not return the money.  You should have enough empathy for that cashier and think of your negative karma as well.  So not cool...

We're not friends and we're most definitely not family.  So when I talk about my concerns about pregnancy and reproduction, I would appreciate that you not add to my stress by not giving me unsolicited advice and stories of failed pregnancies and some other horrific statistics that go against me.  You don't know me.  I don't know you.  Please don't give me any more reason to not want to know you even more.


Feel free to spew a few statements to people who have crossed your boundaries but whom you never managed to confront.  Who knows?  Maybe some rehearsal through the comments section will do you good!



  1. ganyan din ako noon...pero ngayon sorry na lang sila...matapang na ko! hehe! favorite ko sa ganyan yung mga sumisingit sa pila...talagang nakakatikim sila sa kin! hehe!

  2. 9.24.10 1:20pm via FB

    something on my "things to do" list nowadays...great insights.

  3. 9.24.10 3:20PM via FB

    as always joy good job!! funny though that a person as eloquent as you is scared of confrontation. sometimes we do really need to talk to put a stop to something. keep your blogs coming..i soooo love them!!

  4. Question, have you ever rehearsed great comebacks (with matching appropriate facial expressions & hand gestures)...AFTER the incident occurred?! I find myself doing that, berating myself for not saying the things I should have said WHEN I needed to say them! So, like you, I fester...until I vent on FB!

    Although, I'm gradually improving (others may not view it that way, though) in finding my voice & actually getting people to listen (like it or not). It IS tough (especially since I am more comfortable expressing myself in written words) but, I try. If being heard is too intimidating an option, I've actually found out (at least in my case) that read words can make quite an impact (the pen IS mightier than the sword, sometimes)!

    So, for all of you who replay the distasteful encounter (with you actually saying some witty remark) after the fact, take heart! Someday, those "rehearsals" WILL pay off!

  5. I was too shy and timid back then but I've learned my lesson. I now speak up and confront other people. I do need to practice more restraint though, he he.

  6. I'm thinking George Carlin would come up some very different things to say in those scenarios! This is a great idea for a post and a series, and this post is simply perfect. I'm a little bit like you - I'll generally try to ignore things rather than speak up. If you infringe too much, however, or are too big of an axxxole, you're going to wish you let the sleeping dog lie. I'd still do it in a nice way, of course. :)

  7. Lol! This has been a very interesting read. Coming from a society that marries early; hearing me unmarried at 26 is like a shock for many! and they ask... why...what happened? Really, nothing happened; I just don't want to explain what and why and you are most definitely not going to carry the burden; why bother?

  8. OMG! Where do I start Joy? I have kept so many things silent! Sometimes I think that it kept me going all these years!

  9. Joy, this is such an amazing post! I especially identified with how you talked about "undermining ourselves" being a consequence. I know that I want to be the real me all the time, even though I struggle with it as you do! I'm often frustrated with how much I'm influenced by what others may think of me. =(

  10. Recently someone posted some remarks on my Facebook page that were insulting and denigrating to a fairly new friend of mine. Rather than confront him, I just quietly stopped following his blog, his Twitter feed, and unfriended him on Facebook. It stirred up a lot of comments among several friends of mine. I wish now I had told him he crossed the line from sarcasm into verbal abuse. He seemed to take delight in hurting and insulting other people, and I felt that because he lacked insight into himself, he would have missed my point.

    But I still wish I had calmly told him what I thought. A missed opportunity.

    Great post Joy! This is a wonderful idea for a series.

    ~cath xo


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