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You shouldn’t take that. Are you really going to let someone walk all over you like that? You have to stand up for yourself.
All my life I’ve heard these phrases from those dearest to me, and believed that I was weak because I couldn’t bring myself to behave the way others said I should in moments of conflict or tension.
For years and years, I’ve viewed myself as a meek and under-confident pushover. I have bought into this idea that quiet meant uncertain, or that flexibility indicated a lack of strength—that my unusual amount of patience and tolerance demonstrated that I had little self-worth.
But being a “pushover” isn’t my weakness. It’s my f*cking superpower.
A true pushover is easy to overcome or influence. That is not me.
I am not easily overcome.
When I meet another’s loud with my quiet, it is because I know we scream to feel heard, or because we are so upset that we cannot process our true emotion. And when I meet someone’s loud with silence it is because I know the sharpness of my tongue and that it is better kept in its sheath.
No, I am not easily overcome. Instead I use my power to create a space large enough to hold others’ big emotions.
I am not easily influenced.
When I meet an opinion opposing mine, rife with certainty in a fact that may or may not be true, I do not argue. Not because I agree, and not because I am afraid to disagree, but because I would like to think for a while about what has come from the mouth of someone I value, and because I would like to look into whether it is fact, or whether I have been misinformed by emotion.
No, I am not easily influenced. Instead, I use my power to consider what I know is important to another being, and to add that to a library of thought that allows me to better understand this big, beautiful world.
And when I do things obediently in another’s way, gritting my teeth the whole damn way, it is because I know that their way is a stubborn one for a reason, and that I cannot likely understand without prying beneath layers of experience—some of which others desire to be impenetrable.
When I do not argue it is because I know there will be no winning, even if I win. I do not care to waste my energy, so I watch patiently as others use up theirs, and there is finally time to talk. Because I know another will not bend, I instead give myself a break.
No, I am not a pushover, and I am not weak. But there are some things that you should know:
At my quietest, I make my loudest statement.
At my most flexible, I am Kevlar.
My silence screams that I care for a connection, or for another’s peace, and that I am solid in my own. My sturdiness can take the burden of the weight of another’s disapproval or presumptuousness.
No, I am not a pushover, but I can be pushed closed. And I am not weak, but I can be forced to see that others are, and walk away.