Category: Shifting Perspectives Written by Sofia Falcone
We have been conditioned to believe that to be “nice” is to give up on ourselves as a priority. More often than not, we are taught to be nice is to give up on who we really are, such as our likes, dreams and desires in an effort to be likable and accepted.
The old paradigm taught one’s value was to be determined by how many people “liked” or surrounded us; this often meant never rocking the boat, for doing so came with the possible punishment of “unpopularity”.
More often than, the teachings of the old paradigm were presented nicely wrapped as politeness; however, a properly educated person is one who knows his or her value. As such, people who love themselves and have a proper understanding of what politeness really means, are not easily convinced of sacrificing the best in themselves for the worst in others. They are not people who will be silent, neither are they arrogant; for arrogance is not self-assertiveness.
Good manners and education empower those receiving it; one learns when to lead and when to follow; a choice based on personal standards, not on external acceptance. Manners and good education also mean knowing the difference between being polite and hypocrisy; one can have manners and still get the point across without the need to resort to false flattery.
On many occasions we say “yes”, when we want to say “no”, or we submit to unseemly situations and frankly abusive people, when in reality, most of the time we are able to choose not to partake. There is a time to be silent and time to speak up, a time to passive and a time to stand up; when you often find yourself incapable of expressing your own emotions out of fear of what others may think, or fear of being rejected for not matching the “persona” or character you have chosen to play, you are choosing to give up on yourself so others may like an illusion.
So many people reproach themselves most of the time for feeling as if they were complicit, silent when they didn’t really agree with what was going on–mindless obedience hidden behind a smile, hoping not to ever be put on the spot. Is that really who we wish to be?
It is true, there are times it is not worth the hassle to speak up, but this should not be the norm. Most of us understand the frustration of at times having to mind our words; but this should not be equated to keeping silent when hurtful, tyrannical or sarcastic behavior take place. There are times when ignorance is best met with silence and distance, but there are times which require of us to learn to use our words to stand up for ourselves; doing so is not bad, it is self-care and self-respect, and it avoids confusion and miscommunication.
Some purists will say that standing up is a matter of ego, and that therefore any attempt at safeguarding or protecting oneself is nothing more than self-centeredness and selfishness. Nothing could be more wrong, for defending personal identity is a natural and healthy process. Behind the healthy ego is the self that lives and loves, but there is also the battered self, the self that despite the pain knows is worthy of respect, the self that does not want to bend to abuse, the human self: the worthy self.
The false ego is something entirely different and should not ever be confused with the healthy ego. The false ego, is the one that takes everything personally, can act moral and pleasant yet be selfish and demeaning. It can also hide behind attitudes of unbearable conceit, where no one else is allowed to disagree. People like that usually haven’t had the chance to grow up, grew up spoiled or are not willing to confront their own wounds; therefore, anyone who expresses a different opinion is seen as an enemy–traits of a person who needs to work on self-love, self-affirmation and self-strengthening.
Some people will like us, and some won’t, that is part of life. Some people will agree with us, and others won’t, that is part of life. But something that is the foundation of life, and which is being forgotten, is the ability to speak and be the real self without fear of being put down or disliked because of it. I am talking about the ability to be self among so many illusions; this requires self-responsibility and mental maturity–to be mentally mature is not to be rigid but to showcase the power to face one’s own shadow and to accept oneself with all light and darkness. As we heal and face ourselves, we become pretty good at politely being clear about what we want but also what we don’t want; doing so respectfully will save us a lot of hassles and unnecessary pain for ourselves and towards others. Your voice is valuable…use it.
I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges and hopes, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves.
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with written permission from Sofia Falcone.
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