“Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” – Desmond Tutu

 

Growing up the mantra was always “stand up to the bullies, don’t let them take advantage of you.” We appreciate this mentality on the playground, and perhaps later on in the land of cubicles and CEO’s. For day-to-day life, though, bullying the bully is not only a terrifying thought, but exhausting and mentally draining as well.

 

Self-confidence, courage, and independence are hammered into our minds over and over again and we are taught to strive for these ideals, but somewhere along the way these words became synonymous with confrontation. To prove our self-worth we decided that we needed people to hear about it and that the louder they heard it the more serious we were.

 

Someone steal your sandwich at lunch? “Stand up to the bullies.” Tommy poked you with his mechanical pencil? “Stand up to the bullies.” Sally cut you in the tetherball line? “Stand up to the bullies.” The mom in the red minivan cut off your mom on the way to soccer practice? “Bite your tongue.” The tables suddenly turned.

 

This conundrum seemed hypocritical for so long, and had us begging for justice in the world, for moms everywhere to stand up for themselves. They were the ones who were allowed to swear anyways, so why didn’t they use that privilege to fight injustice?

 

Sometime after puberty and before this morning it dawned on us: maybe confrontation isn’t everything it is cracked up to be. Grown ups always loved the jingle, “do as I say not as I do, “ but perhaps this round was different. Perhaps that was true in grade school, but as we grew older we were supposed to start doing as they did, not as they said.

 

For the most part, this was probably all part of the plan. All part of some unwritten parent code that taught children to gain confidence by speaking their minds then growing to remain confident even when they weren’t, because the truth of the matter is that restraining from confrontation does not mean you are weak. In fact, in some cases it might represent being completely at ease with the person you are.

 

By not having to always prove your beliefs and principles you are showing the world that who you are remains the same, regardless of other’s perception of you, or judgments of your actions. Confrontation is exhausting, timely, and often unproductive. No matter how loud either yells, a Republican and a Democrat will hardly ever come to an agreement on how the U.S. government should be run. In this type of situation, not shoving your ideologies down one another’s throats does not make either less of a person. It means you have agreed to disagree.

 

Silence doesn’t show weakness. It shows that you have chosen to pick your battles, and some battles are not worth fighting.

 

What are your thoughts on today’s article? Comment below or tweet me @LydiaYekalam