I regret not speaking up when it was highly required
“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”― Audre Lorde
I am an ambivert person who has mixed traits of introvert and extrovert personalities. Like the hesitation to break the ice in a conversation at the first meeting, or gathering the courage to speak up and then ends up not saying, enjoying the party with my friends, and after a while wishing to go back home and enjoy being alone. Since childhood, I am so bad at giving a spontaneous response. Still today, my heart starts beating so fast when someone suddenly asks me a question in the middle of a meeting.
There were many times in the past when I feel like speaking up, I had even formed a complete sentence in my mind, and had mentally prepared myself for speaking up, heart started beating faster than before, cheeks turn red, but I end up not uttering a single word. After a long day at work, when I lay on my bed and starts recalling the whole day activities, and specifically about that period where I failed not speaking up, and that feeling of regret feels so so bad.
I am sharing my few personal incidences when I feel that it would be better if I had spoken up, rather than being the silent spectator.
Not saying NO when I cannot bear the smell of cigarette
In every corporate office, you will find colleagues who have smoking habits. I don’t have any problem with smokers, until and unless they are smoking at far away distance from me and after their every cigarette session, they are chewing candies or bubble gum before talking to me so that the bad smokey cigarette smell doesn’t reach into my nostril, till then I am fine and I don’t have an issue. But one of my colleagues is a chain smoker, whenever he enters the bay, everyone finds out about his arrival. On one fine day, after lunch, we had a project meeting, in which he was also there and he sat just right next to me and I wasn’t able to concentrate in the meeting because I was busy changing my face direction away from him or holding my breath for a while so that I could avoid the bad smell of the cigarette which is coming from his mouth. It was horrible literally HORRIBLE SMELL. I thought of telling him about this, but what if he finds it rude, or what if he gets offended with the thought that a fresher is saying something like this to him. And, because these thoughts were running in my mind, so I couldn’t gather the courage to tell him, that the smell is giving me a headache.
My learning -
Never be like me. If something is giving you a headache, then speak for it because the other person doesn’t have a superpower to read your mind and thoughts. It is a disgusting smell for you, but for them, it’s a beautiful fragrance that they can smell it the whole day and night and can surround themself with that. That’s why to clear the illusion just let them know, that this smell is causing you a headache, and suggest them to have chewing gums or candies to avoid the smell.
You don’t have to accept the things you are not OK with
Not saying NO when anyone needs help when I am loaded with piles of work
If you are a part of a team then as a member, it’s your responsibility to help other teammates, that's what teamwork is all about, isn’t it? But what if you haven’t finished your work and someone asks for a favor from you, and you just can’t say NO to them, and you agreed to help them by pausing your work? I am that person, who belongs to that category of people who just can’t say NO when someone asks for help. Whenever my team members ask for help, I went to their seat, pre-assuming that the solution would take less than 10–15 mins, and ends up to1 hour in finding the solution with them. And ultimately, I had to stretch my working hours in order to finish the remaining work. I thought that WFH will be less hectic, and I would be able to save my time. But NO, my predictions were wrong again. Zoom call goes up to 1 hour and then meeting after another meeting, which becomes a pain in the ass.
My learning -
I have started learning time management by upgrading myself by deciding how much time I need to invest in a particular activity. When I have the bandwidth, I help my team members without any hesitation. But when I do not have, then I told them that I won’t be able to join zoom call, and share them the path with or guide them in a way that might be helpful for them to look into the issue. In short, instead of sitting and finding the whole root cause for them, I guide them on the path, and I asked them to use that path to find a way. By doing so, their knowledge will go deeper because now they are digging into deep to find the root cause, and they will gain confidence in themself.
Helping someone is good, but making them dependent on you, is not.
Not saying NO to my friends when I don’t feel like going out
Having genuinely good friends in your life, who understand you and your emotions, is pure bliss. We have different friends for a different phase of our life, like our office friends, cab friends, coffee friends, room-mates, school friends, college friends, tuition friends, best friends. But, sometimes, the fear of making myself fit into the group leads me to do those things that I do not want to. Like, unable to say NO when all of my friends are planning to go out because of the fear of being called a Flaker. I was even told that I do not want to go out with them, that’s why I am making excuse.
My learning -
I have realized that it’s absolutely normal to not want to go out. Because, sometimes, being in your home with your loved one and eating rice, dal, and having Gupshup and listening to their stories can bring so much positivity and can be so much fun, rather than going out to a place where you no longer wanted to go and you don’t feel like welcome. Being alone, and doing the things that you actually love, is so relaxing and soothing.
Giving yourself the first priority is not being selfish, it’s the first step towards self-love
I still hesitate to say NO and prioritize other’s feelings before making a decision. But, making a decision at the cost of sidelining my own inner peace is something that I am not in favor of. I am still gathering confidence to come out of my zone and speak up. I cannot change my habit overnight, I am trying to learn ways to say NO without hurting other’s sentiments. It will definitely take time but I have initiated the change.