The Straw

8 Mar

Most of us are pretty resilient. We can endure challenges as they come along and find our way through. We figure out how to go forward when things get hard, and we know what we want to do. Sometimes we get into situations where those around us make us feel uncomfortable. Maybe someone continually insults us or criticizes us, or someone close to us lets us down again and again. We can put up with those things for a time, but eventually we will get to a breaking point. We finally get to that straw, the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. We all have limits, and limits by their very definition have end points. We can endure something for a time, look the other way, and take it, but at some point we will have had enough. When that happens we have to change the situation. Sometimes because we’ve let bad feelings or resentment fester, when we get to the point of no return we may lash out and say things we regret later and make the situation worse. If we can be proactive and change things before that happens we’ll be more successful in changing things. We are all entitled to speak up and state what we don’t want. If we wait, endure in silence, and get pushed too far, we may find ourselves acting in ways that don’t reflect the standards we want to keep.

Some people are rude. Some people are mean, and some people don’t care if they hurt others. We all get to choose what kind of person we want to be and for some those choices are hurtful or demeaning. We’ve all known, or had to interact with, someone who was unkind or abrasive. Every situation is different and if our dealings with them are limited we may choose to endure it and say nothing. But if we must interact with them over a period of time and each time we’re uncomfortable, we can speak up. We don’t have to be rude or unkind. We can patiently and clearly say what is offensive to us and ask them to stop doing it. That may be uncomfortable at first, but often once we’ve stated our feelings, the other person will change their behavior when they are with us. Even if they don’t change, we will have more confidence going forward because we’ve expressed our needs and know they are aware of the situation.

If we wait until the last straw when we can’t stand one more moment of the situation, we may give up our ability to control how we handle it. It’s harder to control our behavior when we’re furious or angry than it is when we’re calm and in control. If we say something the first time we’re offended, we have a better chance of being in control of the situation instead of allowing it to be in control of us. We are entitled to feel comfortable in our dealings with others and we deserve to be treated with respect. If that’s not happening we can politely express our dissatisfaction the first time we feel it. If we clearly state our boundaries and say how we feel we may turn a turbulent relationship around. If we say nothing, our only option is to suffer in silence, which gets us nowhere.

Today if you’ve been insulted or hurt by something someone did or said, talk to them. Tell them how you feel. Just speaking up will empower you. You deserve only the best of everything. When you speak up you have the best chance of getting that. You have so much to offer. Ask for the respect you deserve. You’ll feel better and your confidence will rise.

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