When someone treats you in an ill manner, people say ‘just let it go’. If the person in question is now an elderly person, ah! No need. Just be quiet for life!
…“Never disrespect or talk back to your elders!”; “an elder never lies; they do not have the capacity to, because wisdom lives inside them…”
Things are going south around us and they are not brought about by us but the people whom we have surrounded ourselves with. Instead of taking our stand on a matter or walking away, we say “Let me not talk so that they would not say my own is too much.”
We have been taught and conditioned to be silent about certain things and even if sometimes, there is wisdom in this, there is also the flip side to it.
Disrespectful behaviour meted out to you, if not addressed immediately, more often than not, may also cause you to behave disrespectfully to others, thereby creating an unbreakable cycle of aggressiveness and uncivil behaviour.
This is probably why people say ‘Black women are angry and bitter’ and why #YouSmellNice is trending.
The culture of silence is very real and I have observed over time that the culture gained ground because of the preconceived notion that ‘Being outspoken is rude’ or setting boundaries in relationships is some sort of oversabi or the you-don’t–understand-love lie. The act of being outspoken itself is not rude; only the tone or non-verbal cues from the speaker can make it so.
As in the case of the #YouSmellNice trend, even though I think the HR Professional’s response was quite overboard, I also think that the interviewer did not exhibit some social intelligence skills right there; it was an interview and the compliment was to an opposite sex; It could have been taken wrongly and be seen as flirtatious which may also be ‘just too much’.
I am quite certain that the lady in question is not just responding to the compliment of that young man but to her dispositions and experiences of a man’s first comments when they have ‘ulterior motives’ because that statement struck the wrong cord. We just never know. Maybe.
Speaking out and letting people know when they hurt you is something I am still learning to do. I was brought up to be congenial; to be a peace lover and to be accepting of people’s flaws even to my hurt. I spoke about this to my mother lately and she said she never thought it could have some adverse effect on a child even many years after and she agreed with me. She also was taught by her parents to be accepting and really nice. Being nice is amazing but the world is not filled with nice people.
Taking in too much of abuse, disrespect and disregard is highly harmful to our dignity as human beings and like a pressure pot with content boiling over, it would begin to find its way out in very hot ways also.
In relationships, we have to define boundaries and also have expectations of ourselves in those relationships. We may not be able to determine or control other people’s behaviour but we definitely must put some rein on ours.
Some people have murdered their spouses because of their acceptance of highest levels of abuse and when they should have spoken out or walked away, they took everything all in and unleashed in the most lethal way! (I do not advocate murder or divorce).
Some men have accepted so much disregard and dishonour from the closest people around them that it has reduced them to the lowest levels, their self-esteem shattered, thereby limiting their will and confidence to pursue success and also, do great exploits in life by living the highest versions of themselves.
You do not have to bottle it all in. Learn the ropes; learn how to tactically tell an erring friend when they hurt you. Their response would let you know if they are in your circle or not and then act accordingly. I am the youngest student in this class of learning how to carefully state my grievances without unleashing a drum of age-long hurt on people who do not deserve such venom! I am working at this as I am taking my own advice.
By Oludara Ogunbowale