“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” Malcolm X
Standing up for yourself, others, or what you believe in takes courage. It takes strength. It’s what I try to teach my kids in the classroom and my two kids at home. If you feel strongly about something, anything, you should defend that. So, what happens when the need to please others is stronger? When you worry so much about not hurting a person’s feelings, or upsetting someone, that you allow your own feelings, and thoughts, and maybe even values to be compromised?
By nature I am a peacemaker. I do not like conflict, and most times I avoid it like the plague. I fight against all odds to go against the grain sometimes, and I have perfected sugar coating to an art. If anyone has read Divergent you would understand when I say I am a complete Abnegation. For those who haven’t read it, the book is based on a society made up of different factions or small-organized groups. Each group values a different virtue. So there is the Honest, the Selfless, the Peaceful, the Intelligent, and the Brave. (It’s a pretty good read in my opinion. If you haven’t read it, you should check it out) Back to the point, I was curious to see which faction I belonged to, and where I would fit it. After ten questions, the results were in. I was destined to belong with Abnegation. I took a few other quizzes, claiming to pick the perfect faction for me, and all said the same thing. Abnegation was where I belonged. This particular group values the needs of others above the needs of oneself. So much so that I’m not really sure they have an opinion about much. And they definitely avoid conflict. They also have to wear grey, loose fitting clothing. The makers of the quizzes obviously have not seen my closet. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion about things. I do. I just second-guess myself. I question whether I am justified to feel what I feel, and I am very easily swayed.
Unfortunately after years of this, who is left? I don’t know to be honest. I don’t take the time to find out. Instead I spend my time figuring out how to make sure everyone around me is happy and content. I don’t really know me. This past year I have been forced to really look into that. Into myself. I’ve learned a little. I’m interested in discovering more. Here are a few things I have learned:
1. Investing in myself isn’t selfish. Its necessary.
2. It’s ok to say no. I’m still learning how to do this. I still don’t like to do it. But I know that it is ok to say it.
3. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. Just need to “flex” a little more.
4. I’m doing the best I can. I really am.
5. There is nothing wrong with me. I do not need to harden up so that life won’t take advantage of me. It’s ok to see the good instead of the bad. And not always be on the defensive.
6. I will crumble sometimes. And I am allowed to do that for a little while. I just can’t stay that way.
7. As important as it is to tell my children at school, and at home to stand up for themselves, to be strong, and to have a voice, it is just as important to show them and model it.
My list will continue to grow on my path to self-discovery. It might not be the smoothest road, but I am going to enjoy the view along the way.