As children, we are taught to resolve conflicts with words, negotiation, compromise. As a result, often, we are not taught how to stand up for ourselves. We are told that humility is a virtue and we grow up humble, yet life throws uncomfortable situations our way when standing up for yourself and not being humble is the only, or the best option, or the option we most desire. Yet, we swallow the pride and filled with fear and confusion, we move on. We revel in our useless humility.
A stranger is being rude to us. Someone attempts to mug or mugs us. We see someone bullied or attacked. In the meeting, our boss or colleague humiliate us in front of the group. Someone we know well teases us continuously. A spouse criticises us unfairly.
Our souls are trembling, with the fight or flight hormones filling us up. Yet, we often flee, later replaying the episode in our memory, imagining how we would have, should have acted, re-engineering the past, creating a proper ‘fight’ scenario, even if only in our imagination.
Damn. I am a person like that. To be fair, I am not a complete push over all of the time. Sometimes I do rebel and I can be straightforward and firm and stand up for myself. But not as often as I’d like to. And afterwards I feel like shit, worrying and obsessing and overthinking.
Someone smart said, be humble but have balls. A couple of months ago I realised I had to grow some balls and start standing up for myself. How does one do this exactly? The hardest part is to remember that you ‘have balls’ when you most need them.
Now whenever I am in a situation where fearlessness is required, I do not let myself to get out easy. I actually make myself stand up for myself. I am not there 100%. Most times it is awkward. At times confusing – should I take a buddhist, all forgiving approach or is righteous anger justified? I still obsess afterwards. But it’s getting better.