8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31: 8-9
I used to be a mouthy person. Yes. I said it. I used to have a very potty mouth, and without thinking, I would be popping off at a person if they ever went on my bad books. God has really had to refine me and my dirty mouth, much so that I became a little submissive. I thought that I should be a peacemaker and my mouth always seemed to get me in trouble. I would say things that were offensive and passionately which would come across as angry. Plus it wasn’t the “christian” way to be swearing, or even stir any sort of conflict.
This season I must say has been interesting. God has completely stripped me bare to the core from a courtship that I mentioned in my previous post and a couple of toxic people in my life. What I realised was that I had become so submissive to the point where I let everybody walk all over me. Which isn’t healthy, as it builds up months of resentment and frustration.
So what is healthy? Having a voice is so important. I’ve seen it in high school, where the submissive girls would get bullied. I saw it in public, where people were being racist and nobody did anything or said anything.
Why is it in society have we succumb to the fear of man? The fear that somebody else would not “approve” of our opinion or even listen. And then choose to stay silent instead of stand up for what is right.
I’ve always been the black sheep and I’m proud. I will always stand up for what I believe in, especially if it comes to justice. The BLM just showed years and years of oppression finally manifesting into violence. Should violence be allowed? Hell no. But should people be able to speak? Heck to the yes.
So why are people so afraid to say something when they see something wrong? Because society has deemed women who are too opinionated as “bitchy” or “angry” which isn’t very attractive. And quiet women.. well… are submissive. And you turn into an angry ball of mess as you keep it all in, and eventually you explode. Damn if you do and damn if you don’t.
There is a very very very very very fine balance between being assertive whilst also coming across calm and collected, especially when it comes to a topic that you are very passionate about.
I had been in a situation recently where I had called out racist behaviour and coped a lot of slack for it. I was told that I should’ve just kept quiet to keep the peace. As much as I would absolutely agree that keeping my mouth shut would’ve maybe kept the peace, it isn’t true to my character. I do feel like there is a time a place that things need to be said, especially when it is racist or insensitive. However, I am no angel, and there are things that I have learnt and reflected on as I can always improve on communicating more effectively.
So here are the mistakes that I have made and things that I have learnt/seen that hopefully can help you communicate better in a heated discussion/disagreement ( as I am queen of heated discussions). I think communication is so vital to any relationship, so this will hopefully help within friendships, workplace or romantic relationships. It is always better to overly communicate than not communicate at all and letting things fester.
1) Do not do it when you are emotional or angry – try to calm down before bringing it up, especially in the heat of the moment.
2) If the conversation is triggering you, walk away to have a second to breathe. Yes, walk away or ask respectfully to change the subject.
3) Write down your feelings and your thought processes before bringing it up with the person.
4) Analyse whether this is a you thing or a them thing.
It could be a trigger for you. It could also be a reoccurring pattern in this person. Do they always seem a little selfish and insensitive, and this has been the final straw? It could be a combination of both you and them.
5) Is this an important thing to fight about or are you trying to just be “right”?
6) Is this person important to you and is this worth it? Will this discussion help build your relationship or break it?
One of my bestest friends asked me a question once that stayed with me forever. “Does this person mean a lot to you and will you be sad that they are not in your life anymore?” Especially if this is a huge character flaw or core value, expect that conflict will potentially either build your relationship or break it to its core. In my most recent case, I noticed that I had nothing in common with these people and chose to cut that tie, and it was the best decision. But in other situations, I would fight to keep a friendship/relationship as I knew how important they were to me, and I simple was vocal so that we could grow,
7) Do not attack character. You can point out behaviours, but character blows are low.
8) Get used to opposition and expect a negative response from you speaking up. Especially if this person is not used to or does not like confrontation. Some people have gone about their life with people always agreeing with them with everything. So don’t expect that when all of a sudden you have just voiced your opinion that they’ll be welcoming it with open arms. You’ve put somebody in their place and their ego will be a little hurt. So try to do it nicely as possible. But unfortunately, sometimes you can sugarcoat it as much as you can, and the medicine will still be a little bitter.
9) Try not to use the word ‘ You ‘. Like you said this and you said that. Try to keep it to simple facts and logical points. People can’t fight with real facts.
10) Apologise. Yep, as much as it’ll break you, its better to be at peace than keep on fighting. Just because you apologise and forgive doesn’t mean you have to be best buddies. But at least end it on a good note.
The most recent thing that happened really shook to me my core. I was really questioning whether I had done the right thing by speaking up and saying something. But after speaking to other people (of colour) who knew the same people….who experienced the same treatment of racial injustice….I am so glad I did say something. And sharing my testimony of having MY voice, also gave another person strength to stand up for themselves and be assertive. And if it means giving one more person power to speak up for themselves, then I am happy.
So does that mean I’ll be back to popping it at people left, right and centre? Heck no. But they say choose your battles, and there is only two battles that I choose to fight for. One is Jesus. And the other is Injustice.
So this isn’t the last you’ll hear from me.