It’s me, Jeanne. I am the weak, timid girl who apologizes for being alive. The girl who always seeks diplomatic solutions while avoiding all conflict like the plague. We’ve met many times, and my interactions with you have left me with many scars. I want to let go of that poison now. You see, I’m on this mission to let go of it all. All the noise, all the negativity, all the nonsense, and everything not serving me anymore. I am writing this post as an open letter to you.
The sad thing is that you would probably read this post and not realize that you are part of the problem (after all, I was the one willingly giving away my power, so I form the other half of this equation). There is a good chance you would see anything and everything around you as contributing to your heartache and sorrow while being utterly oblivious to the pain you cause others. That’s your nature. You come in all shapes and sizes, but the hurt you caused me comes in only one form: a painful doubt of my reality, abilities, and gifts.
I invest in working on myself, bettering myself, and being honest about my flaws. Gosh, I have many. I take a lot of responsibility here, too, because in most instances, I have allowed you to treat me this way, allowed you to affect me the way you do, and I continue to allow you to dictate my life and choices in many ways.
I cannot blame this on you because although you hold much power over me, you cannot enter my domain without an invitation. Nope, that’s on me. Since I can remember, I have been a peacemaker. Walking on eggshells was as natural to me as breathing. I took it upon myself to ensure peace, this meant bringing in humour when possible and, above all else, apologizing for everything. Was it my fault? It doesn’t matter – I apologize anyway. Will it make things better? Just apologize. The best way to deal with my fear of your anger – apologize.
As a young adult, I struggled increasingly with the baggage you dropped on my shoulders. I had more than enough baggage to get rid of on my own, but I constantly carried the load you insisted was somehow also my responsibility. I will never be what others call “strong”. I will never come down like a hammer in difficult situations. I won’t scream and say hateful things I can’t take back, and I won’t engage in your brutal business tactics during tense negotiations. I can lie and say I will work on it, but let’s be honest, this is not me, and it will never be me. Even if I spend all my energy trying to be this version of a human, I will always fall back to my natural tendencies. To happily hide in the shadows, withdraw under the desk, and invest an excessive amount of time keeping everyone happy so I can avoid the dreaded “conflict.”
And that’s okay because I have learned that we all have strengths. We all share in each other’s energy and are all in this world and life together. This means we get to call upon each other in times when we need the strengths of others. Just like someone would seek me out to assist in successfully resolving a crisis through diplomatic means, I may call on someone else to tell it like it is when harsher tactics are necessary.
I have learned many things about me and, subsequently, about you in my life. You are genuinely a unique shapeshifter. You come in many forms and show up in many life situations, and a version of you will probably still be present when my little girl is old enough to deal with the ones that come after you. Here are a few things you need to know about me, though.
I am not avoiding the conversation.
Just because you thrive on actively seeking and often finding conflict does not make me weak if I do not choose to engage in it. Not every situation needs a harsh exchange with a “win or lose,” “all or nothing” approach. You only know how to resolve an issue by starting a fight, setting your goalposts, and pressuring me into getting in the ring with you. I do not have to partake in this. I can comfortably sit on the sidelines and choose not to submit my mental and emotional well-being to the verbal abuse and overall stress of unnecessary conflict that is about to ensue. I understand that there is often no point in engaging with someone that argues for the sake of arguing. Instead, I sit back, listen calmly, choose my words wisely, and walk away to take the time I need to come up with the most respectful response or solution I can.
I do not choose to engage in this trap you set for me; it does not mean I actively seek to avoid conflict, don’t want to participate in the conversation, or don’t want to resolve the issue. It just means I search for a better way to address it.
Disagreements are reasonable, and it’s necessary to express these; however, it’s not always essential to make it an all-out war.
I am not weak.
I know business rules somehow dictate that you have to be a “ball-buster” and that you cannot be perceived to be weak. Add to that the fact I am a woman, and it gets even more complicated. Am I not challenging enough? I’m a walkover. Am I too harsh? Then I’m a witch.
You mistakenly believe the best way to get what you want from me is to pressure me, disrespect me, and loudly voice your needs and opinions. You need to remember the respect and reach I have established professionally and how far my network reaches. Just because I do not lower myself to your level does not mean I am weak. It means I am quietly observing, noting what I have learned about you, and mentally adding you to my denylist. Yes, that means I will not be bringing my business to you anymore, you will lose my recommendations to others, and I will gladly give others opportunities above you.
Writing emails in bold, treating me like an invalid, and explaining basic concepts like I have no idea of contracts or business is another giant mistake on your part. I may not scream, shout, or even state my case. But I am the one who makes the financial decisions, I can create opportunities, and I can choose not to offer these.
Please do not mistake my calm, quiet nature as a weakness.
My time is valuable too.
I know, in your world, it’s sometimes hard to accept that there are others occupying space in this world. Others have calendars, commitments, families, and heaven-forbid hobbies outside work. You are so oblivious to the struggles of others and yet so incredibly aware of all the difficulties you face. While you continue to breeze through life without stopping to lend a hand, the world keeps turning.
It’s not okay to disrespect my time by constantly changing appointments, cancelling events, or amending arrangements already made. I may not say much (jip fear of conflict gets me down), but my actions have a harsher impact on you. I slowly retreat, saying yes to less, offering less, and mostly retreating to my safe space. However, as is often the case with Bullies, you will awaken to this reality sometime or another and lay the blame on me pretty thickly. But by then, I’ve constructed my emotional walls and had moved on to a healthier space.
You are responsible for your actions.
This may be the hardest one to digest for you. You, and only you, are responsible for the words that leave your mouth. You are responsible for every action you take and every choice you make. We all have circumstances that influence our life, but when it comes to decision time – it’s on you. We all need to live with that responsibility, and just because you have a general lack of empathy for anyone that’s not you doesn’t mean you are magically absolved from this.
I may be afraid of conflict, and I may not want to let this negativity into my life, but that is my form of necessary self-preservation. I have given up enough to people like you. You do need to know even though I do not choose to engage in your war of words does not mean that you do not cut me deeply. In your world, “it’s just words,” which you often did not mean. The next step after your brutal attack is always to “forget about it” because “it’s over and done with.” Well, that may be true for you.
To me, your words remain, deeply puncture my heart and constantly churn around in my thoughts and dreams. Words have meaning to me, and I refuse to use them to break down others. While you are judging me for “running away” or being scared, I have already silently cut you out of my life and positioned you safely behind my boundaries.
I have unique gifts.
While you can achieve a lot, there are different ways to reach the same goals. You are often a high-flying achiever, a no-nonsense powerhouse, a driven decision-maker, and highly confident in your abilities.
Has it ever occurred to you though that I do not need to be any of those things to achieve the same or even more? Yes, I am sensitive, but this allows me to pick up on highly subtle queues from others. This helps me read a room, listen to my gut, and make excellent decisions about the people I work with, the people I choose to help, and those I choose to spend my time with.
I may not like shouting, snide remarks, and cutthroat sarcasm. However, I have an uncanny ability to calm and resolve high-strung crises and create unique solutions that fit everyone. While I may not be the hammer, I can recognize the skills of others and deliver a message more poignantly when needed.
While I do not approach new business with demands and rigidity, I build lasting relationships with professionals who are often willing to go the extra mile for me because I either give them the benefit of the doubt or evoke loyalty from them.
While you often have a one-and-done deal of a lifetime, clients come back to me repeatedly because I treat them respectfully, compromise, and find different solutions when called for.
Before you judge my ability to achieve, be successful, or opine on my qualities as a human being again, please remember that there is also such a thing as silent strength. I thank you for teaching me this. I thank you for keeping me humble and I thank you for making me such a creative problem solver.
Just because I prefer not to take part in your passive aggressive antics does not mean I am incapable of resolving the situation. I am however, avoiding resolving this situation in a destructive and counterintuitive way.
Love and Light