I recently found myself in a situation where I was feeling extremely undervalued and ignored. So I did what any normal human being would do, I started acting like a total bitch. I could not help myself. Smart comments and eye rolls had been made before I even realized what had happened. After this had been going on for a while, I was feeling super guilty, because the person that I was being bitchy to was actually a pretty decent person aside from this whole situation. So I contemplated apologizing, blaming my mood on “that time of the month” and trying to smooth everything over to appease my guilt. But then I realized that that would be pointless. Letting it all go and smoothing everything over with a joke would not solve my problems. It would not do anything to address the real issue – that I felt I was being treated poorly. So I decided to suck up my guilt and embrace my inner bitch. Here’s what I mean:
I was raised as a good Christian girl, to believe that girls are to be seen and not heard, never to cause a scene, and to be graceful and nice at all costs. Being a bratty bitch was not an option. Demanding what I wanted and needed was not an acceptable thing to do. In my mind, I truly believed that if I expressed my true feelings – my negative feelings - I would not be accepted. So I didn’t express them. The real problem is that I still don’t express them, at least not openly with people other than my closest friends and family.
But lately, with all of the work I have been doing on exploring my creativity, and learning to trust and follow my intuition, my inner bitch has started to emerge. Actually, she has made a few appearances completely outside of my control, and I have been horrified! But at the same time, the strangest thing has happened: By allowing myself to be a little less than nice to everyone, I can now more easily accept it in others. Before, I loathed the sight of a highly opinionated person with an attitude. I would become extremely offended if anyone said anything even remotely rude or insensitive around me, whether it was directed to me or anyone else around. I had so thoroughly rejected and buried and ignored this part of myself that the sight of it in others was too much to bear.
I say all of this to say that it is OK to ask for what you need. And if you ask nicely and are ignored, then it is perfectly acceptable to make a little bit of a scene. I’m still working on this. I usually avoid “making a scene” at all costs. But that’s not fair to me. And it’s not fair to everyone else that I don’t express what I am really thinking and feeling. I have finally realized that this is the essence of being authentic – outwardly displaying what you are internally thinking and feeling. Telling the truth – Your truth. This is HARD. It requires us to overcome our need to please and to fit in. It requires us to disagree and speak up and stand up for what we believe is right. Of course, I am not condoning nasty behavior of any kind. There is never an excuse to be cruel to others. What I am talking about is finding the courage to stand up for yourself even if it requires letting go of your “nice girl” persona.
© Haley McManigal 2014
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