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Does Saying Something Even Matter Anymore?

Growing up, I was the shy kid. I didn’t speak my opinion, and heaven forbid if I speak up.  Speaking up meant confrontation that I didn’t need or want, but I also learned that nothing changed if I didn’t.  As the years passed by, I found myself coming “out of my shell.”  I wasn’t sure if it meant my personality was changing, or if I was finding my true voice.  Was it a part of growing up, or was I just sick of being treated terrible? Defining it was near impossible.

When High School came, I wanted to be friends with everyone.  Who wants to rock the boat? Nobody does, we all (deep down if we were honest) want to get along with our fellow man.  I tried so hard to please every class and creed, which was exhausting.  I eventually found my core group of friends,  but there was the drama of High School where the “He Said” and “She Saids” came to wreak havoc on what seemed like a normal school day.  Even then, being loyal to one person meant upsetting someone else, and I learned quickly in order to survive the years to keep my mouth shut and to be a better listener then talker.   It kept things peaceful, but the things and people who created stress in my life at that time continued to do so because I couldn’t find the strength in my words to say something.

As an adult, you come to these forks in the roads. Some of us are peace keepers, we won’t say anything because we fear what the result will be- EVEN IF it means staying miserable in a situation. Others of us are confronters- we WILL say something because we feel our rights are being violated, or feel wronged in one way or another.  And then there are those of us who ride the fence, we don’t want anyone to be upset with us so we take both sides, or pretend to stay out of it, even though we are being sucked in whether we like it or not.  But as the Adults we say we are, I believe and have learned that confrontation is the only way to create change.  Ignoring does nothing, the person or issue will continue because they A. don’t care or B. don’t realize it is bothering or effecting someone.

I have had to deal with a couple of confrontations since moving here, and to me, it’s been confusing.  I don’t know if I am growing thicker skin and not allowing people to run over me, or if I am just fed up, or both.   Have I learned along the way that saying something is necessary or that there is no point to it but to be upsetting the situation? It’s a hard line to walk, and when you are living it, sometimes people can perceive you as a person by how you are reacting to something, even if they have no real clue who you really are.

It’s hard when you know what is true and real, and what is fact vs fiction, but yet others just don’t see it that way.  I wanted to write about it because I believe we all deal with this during our lives, and sometimes just talking about it makes us feel better, move forward, and be that much stronger for the next time.

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5 Comments »

  1. You hit the nail on the head, Amy! I was quiet growing up and I always was a listener as to not cause problems. Always trying to be friends with everyone. It sure was exhausting! Now that I’m an adult I always think of the repocussions before I open my mouth. If it’s ok in the end I speak my mind. If it has to do with my kids. You bet I’m going to speak my mind! I will let someone have it. But I always think of the outcome before I speak and weather or not what I’m going to say will either hurt or help. Will I be happy with the outcome and can I live with what I just said. Thank you, Amy, I feel like what you said described a lot of myself growing up and now as an adult.

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  2. Well written Amy. I think our battles need to be chosen….sometimes it is best to remain silent, other times you need to speak up and be a voice. Sometimes it is for someone who has no voice, sometimes it is to make sure that a clear head or opinion is heard to separate fiction from facts, and last it is because OUR voice needs to be heard. It is confusing at times to know when to speak or when to hold our tongues and just walk away. Thanks for these words of wisdom.

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  3. In my life, I have never really been confrontational…but I have been known to speak my mind. It has gotten me into more trouble than I care to admit. Over the last few years, it has tempered. As most of my interactions are online now, I’ve learned that it is nearly senseless to get into debates with people I don’t know, especially when no one has ever had their mind changed just because someone argued with them on facebook or some other site. I have learned to pick and choose my battles, and am still learning. Your last paragraph is what I struggle with the most…knowing fact vs. fiction, what’s real and what’s not. Getting frustrated when people refuse to see that and remain ignorant. Or in my current situation, having one of my closest relationships start to fall apart because the person has convinced himself of something that isn’t real (the recent death of the person’s father has led the person to sincerely believe that everything in life is now against him). It is devastating to me because I know what’s real, fact, true…and s/he is so blinded. But even now I have to pick and choose my battles. I can’t force this person to see reality. I have to sit and wait. It’s a relationship that I have absolutely no problem picking up the pieces right where they were left because I know exactly why this person is acting out. But still, it can be hard to know when to say something and when not to in those situations.

    I think I am way more apt to speak up to someone I personally know (face to face know, not just know from solely online interactions) because I feel the person knows me and my heart. But there are those times, such as with my friend, when the line isn’t all that clear. And in those cases, I have learned that for me it is better to remain silent until I know the time has definitely come for me to speak up.

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  4. Amy, your writing is so flawless and hits my sentiments exactly. Only it would have taken hours for me to write it because I get so emotional as all my frustration of being walked over all the time come thru at the same time. I try to say something politely after a situation occurs numerous times and people don’t take me seriously. Then I spit stuff
    out more because it keeps happening and now I’m the bad guy. Only it was okay for the person to have the great life in the meantime while I was being used. This mostly refers to play dates.

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  5. I’m the diplomat in my household, and pretty good at seeing both sides of an issue because I’ve come to realize that almost everyone does what they do for a reason and very few people are mustache-twirling bad guys. I’m generally non-confrontational until I decide circumstances demand otherwise, and more than one person has noticed that I choose my words carefully, even in casual conversation, because I want to be sure that others hear what I actually mean to communicate. However, I am pretty good at arguing logically, and I know the difference between an argument and a fight. Sometimes when I do argue with someone who cannot remain rational and lets an argument become a fight, I think my remaining calm actually makes them even angrier, because I won’t play by their rules.

    Sometimes, winning an argument is really losing the greater battle, depending on with whom, why and WHEN you are arguing. If I have learned anything over the last 15 years, it is that I am almost always better off if my first impulse is to shut my mouth and think carefully before I open it again. Do I really want to get into this argument? Does it pass the 24-hour test — I.e., will I or anyone else care tomorrow? Is it really important, or should I save my fervor for something that really does matter?

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