Today’s guest article is by Kyla Cofer, a blogger in Nashville, TN. She works at a University to pay her bills and spends the rest of her time discovering the meaning of “Love your neighbor as yourself”. She can be found at: www.kylajoyful.com
I, like many people, do not enjoy conflict. In particular, because I think fairly slowly. When put on the spot, I never know how to say exactly what I’m thinking. I make good use of the ‘backspace’ key when writing but that option doesn’t exist in real life. I’m that person who thinks of the perfect thing to say two days after the fact.
Honestly, fear is the only reason I hesitate. I’m afraid to speak my thoughts because the results can be damaging. The person could walk away, feel hurt or angry, or twist my words to invalidate what I said. My insecurities taught that if another person spoke with authority, their words must be true and no matter how I disagreed, I must be wrong.
I decided long ago that love should win out over fear, and began taking steps towards that end.
I once went on a few dates with an interesting man. Despite some crucial differences, I liked him and enjoyed being around him. I also liked that he respected me and treated me well. These two things are more difficult to come by than one might think.
One week, after a series of text messages (I still have yet to understand why this is an acceptable form of showing interest) discussing a serious issue, which led me to believe he wanted to continue the relationship, we paused for an in-person conversation.
When my date and I started the above conversation, I asked him about the serious topics he brought up via text.
“Well, I just thought the issue was kind of funny, and I think it’s cool we’re buddies.”
Men: If you ever want a woman to be interested in you, do not, under any circumstances, call her your “buddy”. Ever.
The conversation went downhill from there; I’d rather not write the details. In a pause, after I allowed myself a few minutes to gather my thoughts, I decided there was no way I would leave until I’d said exactly what I wanted to say.
“I’m angry with you!”, I interjected loudly, pounding my fist on the kitchen counter. “This is not okay. You led me to believe one way, and now you’re telling me something else. I don’t want to be treated this way.”
In that minute, I suddenly knew my worth.
Realizing what happened, his face changed. He hugged me, apologized, and tried to smooth things over. I understood at that point he was more concerned about my anger towards him, than that I hurt.
I knew how I wanted to be treated, and I knew that I would not waste my time standing there. I left, quickly.
My drive home included thoughts like, “he’s a jerk. A selfish coward”. Women aren’t so kind when they’ve been burned.
Anger motivates change. By the time I arrived home, my anger subsided and I felt thankful for the experience. My courage to speak the truth gave me strength and reminded me of my value. As I told a friend, “My price just went up”. I felt like I previously tried to sell a masterpiece painting on clearance, instead of the millions it was worth.
If I don’t know my value, I’ll expect other people to determine my worth when that decision isn’t theirs to make. This truth applies not only to partners, but to friendships, employers, and family members.
My past self allowed others to determine my worth and dignity. Doing so caused insecurities to make their home in my soul. This dating story proved positive changes in my life. I choose now to speak truth of my thoughts and feelings.