There are bends and bumps in the road on this journey we call life, and sometimes it feels as though the entire ground has disappeared from beneath your feet completely. On some occasions they can come in the form of misunderstandings, cruel words, or a general ignorance on how words can create a much deeper wound then imaginable.
Usually I turn a blind eye.
Most of the time I don’t feel as though my opinion would matter much to those around me, and more importantly I have a tendency to avoid conflict at all cost.
This of course doesn’t stop conflict in my life, and my avoidance tactics usually make things worse.
Vicious circle and all that.
Recently I had to face a conflict straight in the face and stand my ground in a battle where I knew my point was valid. I sought the council of a friend to make sure I wasn’t going off my rocker, and she confirmed what I already knew:
My voice needed to be heard.
Once again I have to point out that I am not the type of person to stand on a soapbox, point my finger and inherently tell someone that they are wrong. But in this instance I felt as though there was a much deeper issue than what was even on the surface of this particular subject matter. And it had the potential to be very damaging, not only for the individual whom I disagreed with, but for a vast group of people.
I cannot give details of the particular event, because I am not going to slander an individual for their personal beliefs. But I do believe that in my public disagreement with them, I had a valid point.
Now in this specific incident, it was acknowledged that I had a valid point, and I’m not going to rub it in anyone’s face or rent advertising space on the side of a building with a big “I TOLD YOU SO” sign. Because even though I may have been correct this time, there have been plenty of other times in which I was misguided, naive, or flat out wrong.
When I was younger I had a horrible habit of sticking my foot in my mouth. And believe me, I have rather large feet.
But there was something brave about how I stuck to my convictions, even though I was young and knew nothing of the crazy world around me. Eventually, after being told I was wrong on multiple occasions, I felt as though the only option I had left was to become a quiet mouse and leave my opinions locked away.
I don’t think that’s something I can do, even though it may seem like an easier choice.
I’m not saying that every time I share my opinion or get into a heated debate that my side is always right, I am after all a flawed human being. But if I don’t challenge myself, and my belief system, I will never grow as a person.
I look back on my younger self and the convictions I had in many different aspects of my life, and I feel pride. I may have changed my opinions on those things as I have gotten older (and hopefully wiser) but I stood grounded in what the truth was for me at that time. I miss that girl some days.
Another point I have to make is that no matter what my beliefs and convictions were, nothing is ever right if you are to put down another human being. I don’t care if it’s the color of their skin, age, sexual orientation, body type, favorite food, where they came from, or if they have ever seen a Disney film. No one deserves to be put down or made fun of. It’s called bullying and it’s gross.
Now for my soapbox moment.
I believe that everyone in this world deserves the same respect that we ourselves feel entitled too. If I don’t want you to judge me for the way I look, I shouldn’t judge you by the way you think. There is too much hate that is fueled in this world, and they only way we are going to put an end to it is to love a little more.
And of course there will always be people whom we meet who quickly show us that they only deserve respect from a great distance because they are toxic. And making that choice to shut people out of our lives because of that is ok too, because at the end of the day, I’m who I need to take care of.
And my cat’s of course.
I am going to lose a lot of battles before I win one, but I will never win any of them if I sit back and never fight for what I believe in.