Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

I've never really been one to stand up for myself.

Usually I'm content with just going with the flow, which can be a good thing. It's good to be flexible and to just go with it. But sometimes being so passive can result in letting people walk all over you. I'll admit it: I've let people walk all of over, take advantage of me. I just let people do what they want, and I go along with it simply because it's easier than standing up and making waves. And usually I've been okay with that, but lately I've started speaking up more.

If something's bothering me—whether it's with my friends or my roommates or my classmates or my professors, even—I've started voicing my opinion. I'm not that great at it yet, but I'm learning how to stand up for myself day by day.

Confrontation is still not my favorite thing in the world. In fact, it's probably one of my least favorite things. But I've learned that it's a necessary life skill, so I'm trying to become better at it.

I think confrontation and standing up for myself and disagreeing with others is so hard for me because I love when people get along. I preach kindness and acceptance both here on my blog and just in everyday life. And sometimes I feel like standing up for something can come off as the opposite of kindness and acceptance, and I think that's where my problem with confrontation comes in.

But then I realized that you don't have to be mean to stand up for yourself or to confront someone. That's just the way we've seen confrontational people portrayed in books and movies. The girl who stands up for herself is seen as bitchy or rude. But you can stand up for yourself without being those things. It's perfectly fine to disagree with others and even confront others without being rude. Just because asserting yourself is a sign of power or control doest not mean it's bitchy. It's so easy to be kind and nice, which is how I believe we all should be. And maybe if we start acting this way, it will rub off on others, and soon maybe everyone will act kindly.

I've realized that when I don't let people know how I'm feeling, it can have a negative effect on me. Holding feelings of anger or sadness inside without expressing them just really isn't healthy. In fact, keeping these feelings inside usually just intensifies them, and they just continue to worsen.

Part of coming out of my shell has been learning to stand up for myself. I'm still an easygoing person who is fine with letting others decide where to go for dinner or what to do Friday night. Those aren't the kinds of decisions I'm necessarily talking about because I'm totally fine with going with the flow on those kinds of things. I'm talking about when my roommates don't do their dishes or when my professor says something unfair or uncalled for in class or when I simply disagree with my friends.

But I'm still a work in progress. I'm still timid and shy and don't like to rock the boat. But I'm working on it! Why shouldn't I stand up for myself? Like the quote on the wall above my desk asks me every day: Why the hell not?

How do you stand up for yourself? What have you experienced or learned by speaking up? Do you have any advice for me?

Lots of love,

J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"