Standing Up


This is sort-of a recurring theme for the Nootsmaak - speaking up for one's self, standing up for the right thing, even if it's uncomfortable or creates conflict.

I did it again, and while I was unsure about doing it, I'm glad I did, though it might mean things will be uncomfortable for a while.

Here's the thing - like many people, I'd rather avoid conflict - I don't seek out waves to throw under a stable boat. But I can't sit idly by when something isn't right, or if there's a chance of changing things for the better, no matter how minuscule.

Some might say "Why bother," or the Pollyanna "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Sometimes that might be appropriate, but I don't think it's realistic and seems wussy. There are ways of saying things that, while maybe unpleasant, can be productive and achieve a desired result.

I don't want to cause problems - I want to solve them. If I'm causing problems, I'd want someone to tell me. I'd want the chance to fix it. I'd like to think that's true for most people.

After many years of wanting to say something to someone about something and not saying anything because I didn't want to complicate things, I finally said something.

I painstakingly chose every word very carefully in an effort to be kind, yet direct and straightforward. No one appreciates an underhanded slap in the face.

Despite the great care I took in how I crafted my message, it very well may backfire. But I was tired of waiting for someone else to say something and call someone on the bullshit that keeps causing a problem. Vague enough? I hope so!

I've agonized over what I said and how I said it and if it can be understood in the spirit it was intended, and will he/she appreciate that, despite the message, I care very much about trying to help and if I didn't, I wouldn't have said a word.

But all I can do is say my piece and hope for the best. He/she may be terribly offended and hate me forever. I knew that going in. If so, that's too bad, but if nothing else, he/she may think twice before pulling the same shit again.

What I *hope* for is an honest, direct exchange about the issue so we can evolve into a more productive place. But what I keep finding is, no matter how much someone says they value honest and direct communication, they have no idea what that means.

People say that all the time, but when things start to get a little sketchy, the line goes dead. I get it - conflict can be scary, but it can be incredibly productive and lead to amazing things. Like growth, change, evolution.

The key is choosing your battles wisely and knowing which conflict might truly be worth the pain it might cause.

What blows is when you try to open up an honest exchange and you get nothing back. The person on the other end doesn't seem to care enough to put forth the same effort. Or they don't know how, and that's OK - but no response at all? Not even to say "I don't know what to say?" Unacceptable.

So where does that leave things? Unresolved, for now. I keep coming back to the same thought: We all have a responsibility to speak up for the right thing. If someone doesn't like what they've heard, they have a right to refute it. But nothing is ever, ever going to change if we don't say something.

Sometimes it gets me into trouble, but sometimes it results in great things. I'm going to remain hopeful that things will work out well. If not, life goes on, and perhaps with a little less bullshit.