Your friend says something that hurts your feelings. You really want to ask for a well-deserved raise. You’d love nothing more than to let your admiration for someone spill, pour, flow out of you. Life is kind of kicking your ass and you want to cry, but you don’t want to interrupt the on-going conversation about Miley’s attempts at twerking. You agree to a situation in which you are settling for less. That cute guy at work, yeah, you’d really like to ask him out on a date.
So you don’t say anything at all. You hold it in. You send it to the back of your mind somewhere. You wipe away the sentiment along with a quick tear before you go to bed. You sit at your desk and wonder, “what if?” What if I had the courage to speak up? For some reason, many of us were taught that silence is better than being honest. We were taught not to stir any controversy. We were taught that having hurt feelings, or even being forward, are inappropriate.
Finally, one day, you say it. You just say it! “But there are consequences to our actions…” a wise woman once said. And yes, this is true.
Another wise woman, my mother, has always said that the worst thing someone will say to you is simply…no. “No, I will not apologize for hurting your feelings.” “No, you will not be getting a raise.” “No, I don’t love you back.” No no no. Unfortunately, expressing ourselves, exposing ourselves, doesn’t always yield the response we want. But so what? No is hardly a consequence. Did you lose anything you didn’t have before? Since when do two measly letters hold such power? Sure, a no feels sucky. But, sometimes, it’s not a no. It’s a yes.
Regardless of the outcome, you had the courage, the valor, and the self-worth, to lay out exactly how you felt. Speaking up means you know what you are worth, what you want, and who you are. It means dealing with your emotions. It means finally knowing where you stand and being able to keep on or move on. It means not being afraid of a simple no and willing and open to a possible yes. It means being completely comfortable with yourself. It means being fearless.
(And yes, I am talking to you, my courageous friend. Never regret standing up for yourself and going for what you want. Many of us wish we were half as brave!)