Confidently, Courageously, and Compassionately

Posted | 11 comments

Confidently, Courageously, and Compassionately

“That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.” – Babe

A friend called me yesterday. She was over-the-moon excited about a job opportunity she has. You see, several months ago she was laid off from her job in a law office and ever since has been diligently working to find full-time employment with benefits for herself and her three kids. She paid cold hard cash and had a professional resume made. After diligent research, she went on her first interview in an industry in which she has no experience, but has always dreamed of working. 

She was nervous. Well over three hundred people showed up for only a handful of openings. Being over forty and up against people with real industry experience didn’t help to quell her nerves. The interviewers put her and everyone else through their paces. When all was said in done, she had an offer on the table. Yep, she’s just that awesome.

But yesterday wasn’t about that job. Yesterday, she called me to tell me that she’d been offered another job, and like I said she was over-the-moon excited. She has experience in this industry. I know that she will be nothing short of spectacular.

In between her telling me “this is the greatest opportunity ever” and “this company is the best,” I heard her say several thing that made me uneasy for her. I let her pour it all out, and then with my heart pounding, I did something I almost never do; I asked permission to tell her what I thought. 

You see, I’m a bite my tongue kind of girl. If you know me well or if you’ve been reading this blog you may be rolling your eyes, shaking your head, and saying to yourself, “no way.” It is; however, the truth. I quiver in fear like a scared pup every single time I’m faced with putting an essay on my website. I will ask you endless questions about yourself to avoid sharing a single scrap of information about myself. 

I have hidden behind walls most of my life. If I do offer a point of view, I offer it from my personal perspective and make it very clear that this is just that, my personal perspective. I avoid confrontation at all costs. I’ll walk away a thousand times, before I’ll fight once.

The fact of the matter is this, unless I’m really comfortable with you, unless you’ve gone out of your way, you really don’t know me. The bottom line is this: I’m terrified. Terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing. Terrified of hurting someone’s feelings. Terrified of speaking up and being soundly rejected because of what I think, feel, and say. I shut up and put up on a regular basis. 

So, even though I’ve known this person for well over ten years. Even though we’ve supported each other through heartbreak and rejoiced at each others joys, I was still really hesitant to say what I felt in my heart I needed to say. 

We are extremely good friends. She wanted to hear me out. I screwed up my courage and I told her what I thought. Then I held my breath and waited for the yelling, the tears, and the sound of silence as she hung up on me. But that didn’t happen. Instead she said, “you know, I’ve been thinking about that myself.” 

What followed was a lovely discussion. I shared. She shared. I suggested resources, and since I pointed out a concern she had already been contemplating, she was able to suggest resources for me. I hug up twenty minuets later not only feeling great because I had been able to support her, but also because I had new information from her that I was excited to explore. 

Am I cured? I doubt it.  I do know this; it’s a process. Maybe, one day I’ll be one of those people who can confidently, courageously, and compassionately express what I think and how I feel even if you aren’t one of my dearest and closest. For now, I’ll take it one baby step at a time. For now, this will do. 

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11 Comments

  1. Why do I feel like you are describing me whenever you describe yourself?? We are more alike than I ever knew. I guess we never found that out because we were both so busy hiding from each other. 🙂

    • Thank goodness we gave each other a chance.

  2. One baby step at a time! Kudos to you for allowing your voice to be heard, and sharing with your friend in a heartfelt way. <3

  3. Congratulations Denise. I think you underestimate yourself though – this isn’t a baby step. This is a huge step. The baby steps are all the things you’ve done previously to be able to do this for your friend in this moment. And I can assure you it does get easier over time. I once was like this and now I’m really finding my voice and expressing it. To say I don’t care what people think would be wrong. I do – deeply. It’s just that my passion to help others and make this world a better place overrides the uncomfortableness of speaking out. Much love x

    • Tabitha, you know you are one of my inspirations.

  4. It’s interesting that “voice” is on our minds and in our hearts this week, Denise. I avoid conflict at all costs and, for me, sometimes that means I’m quiet when I should be voicing an opinion. Silence never serves me. I am going to remember your post the next time I choose silence over communication. Thank you for the “nudge.”

    • Silence never serves me either, Sue Ann. I just find it extremely challenging to look someone in the eye and say what I think especially if that thing might not be well received.

  5. Great post Denise. As you, I practice honesty with compassion. It’s difficult but oh so liberating. And people have actually started to compliment me on my ability to calling it as I see it without judging. It’s really kind of strange to me – but it turns out that it’s a rare quality. Well done, Denise.

    • I look forward to being in that place, Maj. It’s the goal and I’m glad to hear you say that you feel liberating. That’ll help me step forward.

  6. We’re very similar, Denise. 🙂

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