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Sticking up not sticking it out

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High school Senior learn how to stand up for her opinions

High school Senior learn how to stand up for her opinions

High school Senior learn how to stand up for her opinions

Olivia Price, Print Editor

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I’d say I’m a pretty level-headed person. I’m often described as “chill”, but I also stand up for injustice if I feel that I need to. Part of this “mental self-control” I’ve learned from things like running cross country, where being able to mentally talk yourself up or down is what gets you through strenuous 3.1 mile races. I often utilize my ability to mentally talk any situation into a positive one during these races.

The mental endurance I’ve been born with and have acquired is something I’ve found incredibly useful for time management in school and for getting through hard things in life, but what I didn’t expect to find was that sometimes, it can be hindrance.

I just became aware of this facet of myself this week. Not only am I able to turn a hard situation into a good one in order to allow me to keep going, I also can turn a situation I need to solve into something that I don’t. Basically, I can talk myself out from my feelings. I didn’t even realize I had been doing it until earlier this week, when I was caught doing it by parents.

I had gotten home from volunteering at a place I regularly volunteer at, and I was telling my parents about how it was going. I told them how lately I’ve been feeling sort of undervalued. They had gotten a new person to join the team I usually help on because this person is supposed to be very good at this job. Of course I’m glad they have someone who’s already well trained, but it was a bit off-putting to have someone who just joined, and is my same age, to immediately have more confidence from leadership than I, someone who has been dedicated and efficient at helping for a couple years now. I was wondering why they didn’t just train me to do whatever it is that this person can do? Suddenly they were asking this person when they had questions, and I was boxed into one facet of my original job.

So this is a pretty justifiable time to feel frustrated, right? Well, myself from a few days ago did not allow herself to feel that way. As I was relating my feelings to my parents, I kept trying to justify the other side, so much so that I basically talked myself out of how I was feeling. I didn’t even notice, but my parents did, and they told me what I was doing. They also told me that I was entitled to what I feeling. They told me I needed to stop trying to be so empathic that I didn’t allow myself to feel my own feelings. I think at the root of this desire to quickly solve conflict lies the real desire: to avoid potentially ruining a situation that is comfortable. Even though I was frustrated by having part of a job I like to do taken away, I was just going to let it go and talk myself out of it instead of acknowledging my feelings and trying to come up with an actual solution.

Once I realized what I was doing, I was actually pretty surprised. I try to be very aware of sticking up for myself and not letting myself getting walked over, but I had almost let it happen without knowing. About a week before this happened I was actually listening to a podcast from Girl Boss Radio, where the hosts were talking about how to stick up for yourself as a woman in a workplace, and how to ask for equal salaries when you know a man is being paid more than you. When I had been listening to the podcast I had been thinking to myself, “Oh yeah, I totally would stick for myself” and “I wouldn’t be that scared to talk to my boss if that happened”. But a week later, I was a given an opportunity to practice this on a small scale level, and did not react the way I had thought I would.

My ability to mentally endure held me back from sticking up for myself, and addressing leadership about my concerns about an injustice. I didn’t realize it was okay to stop, not keep running through the discomfort, and ask for a change. Through this experience, I’m learning the importance of and how to stick up for myself. If I want to be a force in the world, I can’t settle when my view or position is challenged.

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Sticking up not sticking it out