How do you find the balance between standing up for yourself (or someone else) and overreacting? When is keeping silent taking the high road and when is it being a doormat?
I like to think I put up with a lot, that it takes something out of the ordinary to make me angry. If that’s true, then I’m suddenly hanging out with a lot of unique people and participating in many extraordinary events, because there are a lot of things making me angry.
Perhaps I’m just tired of swallowing things and pretending everything is okay, even when it’s not. Maybe I’m frustrated with the number of people who take my “Fine” at face value when they ask how I am. Or maybe I’m finally realizing that people are not mind readers and it’s time to speak up.
I have great plans for standing up for what’s right and for punishing wrongs. Sometimes, I even write them down, so that I don’t forget what I want to say. I have a whole speech prepared for a Board meeting. I have a punishment set for a child who didn’t do what I told her to do.
But then I get second thoughts. Maybe I should speak up. Maybe a public meeting isn’t the place to say what I want to say. Maybe it’s a waste of other people’s time. And that punishment? It’s not harsh, but maybe I’m over reacting. Maybe the threat is enough. Maybe I should give one more—in a series of one mores—chance.
The other day, I had a choice when writing a letter. I could point fingers and make the blame obvious for a problem, or I could take the high road and get the point of the letter across, without laying blame. I chose the high road (my grandmother would be proud) and it felt good. It was peaceful and it was nice not to be angry anymore.
But there’s a difference between choosing whether or not to be dignified and making sure things get done the way they’re supposed to. I hate confrontation, and when I calm down, I often decide it’s easier to avoid. However, while avoidance is easier, it’s not always best.
I’m hoping that peace comes also with doing what’s right, even when it’s hard. And maybe that balance will adjust itself as I go.