Sunday, July 15, 2012
Speaking Up for Yourself
Sometimes, it's easy to feel voiceless. It's easy for one to feel like what they have to say doesn't really matter that much anyway, even when it does. Certain things have made me wonder what it really does mean to speak up. I've spoken up about so many different things but so many times I can't speak up for just me. To say I have a voice and a right to speak it.
Recently, I was inspired by a conversation that my cousin had with me about something that had happened to her when she was younger. I was amazed about the courage that she had to speak up for herself even when no one would listen to her and believe her, and to keep speaking up for herself now in a way that would end up helping so many other people. Even after it was over, I kept thinking about it.
Still, I wondered something. If she could speak up for herself with something that big, why can't I speak up over the littlest things? Why do I have to sit around and let people stomp all over me, taking other parts of me with them? If other people could end up having a backbone, why couldn't I? Of course, I imagine that my cousin had to develop that in a way that was absolutely terrible. It was developed out of absolute necessity. To compare her situation to mine would be shallow and ridiculous.
But it's not just her who has that wonderful ability, that wonderful gift. It seems to be in so many people I know, regardless of what kinds of things they had to go through. Some people just have it. While I was in the car and listening to music today, I started to think. It takes confidence to speak up for yourself, and that confidence is not always something I have. I have so much to offer to the world, but if I don't believe in myself, no one else can. If I don't learn to love myself, no one else can love me either. I want to speak up for myself and I want people to listen to me, but so far I can't have that right now. I can't.
Why is that? It all comes back to confidence. I realized my confidence has come from external sources instead of internal sources. So when those external sources turned sour and they bullied me and ignored me and left me a loner... Well, I was so angry with myself that I couldn't please them that I punished myself in ways both physical and emotional. I thought that it was my fault, that it proved that something was wrong with me. But there wasn't. My only problem was in depending on the people around me instead of depending on myself.
So if I want people to listen to me, if I want them to like me? I have to listen to me. I have to like me. Most importantly, I have to speak up for me. When I hope to attract people by groveling, by kneeling in the sand with hands clasped.... I will attract the worst and turn off the best. My delivery is all wrong.
Sometimes, people will do things I won't like. They will make mistakes because they are people and those mistakes will hurt me. I have to stand up for myself and speak because if I don't.... Well that's when all the trouble starts.
In the face of wrong, I need to be my own advocate. I need to sense my needs and indulge in them as well as the people around me. Only then will I get what I so desperately seek and only then will people come to me.
I need to stop caring about what other people think and maybe then they'll start caring about what I think.
Building confidence isn't easy. I think the first step is indulging in myself and changing the way that I think.
Speaking up for yourself is the first step. It's the step for everyone really. My cousin remained confident because she spoke the truth and didn't back down. I can't, either.
Really, it's a recipe for life. I just have to try it.