You’re quietly lying in your bed, phone in hand, you’re scrolling up and down your screen, reading the long text you have just crafted over and over again. You really like him, but you hate being strung along. You’re about to send a ‘risky text’. Should you do it? Is it going to scare him away? Will he even acknowledge your message? Or is that you effectively pushing him to the point where he ‘ghosts’ you? Questions are swirling through your mind in a frenzy. You decide to go through with it, your thumb is now hovering over the ‘send’ button. You press it. It’s done. You heart is beating ever louder in your chest. You see he’s now typing, goosebumps are crawling all over your body. “Did I do the right thing”, “What is his reaction going to be?”, “There’s no turning back now”, “Oh god…”
You’re sitting in a conference room. Your manager and colleagues are discussing how to improve the current work process. An amazing idea has just occurred to you. “Is it really amazing though?”. “It’s not the standard way…”, “in fact, it’s definitely a bit crazy, I can’t just blurt that out, I’d better keep quiet and privately IM my manager after”…
You work for a big company with lots of internal opportunities. You like your job, but you feel like you need a change, you want to expand your skillset, to progress your career faster. You have set your sights on a certain new job you would like to try. “The competition for that job is wild, though”, “Sure, being an internal transfer might make it easier, but am I good enough? What more can I offer that all those people knocking on the company’s door can’t?”, “I’d better pick a stepping stone, something easier, better-suited for me and my current skills and knowledge, learn to walk before I try to run…”
Human beings don’t like uncertainty. And uncertainty when our feelings, dreams, and aspirations are involved can make us crazy, obsessed, over-analytical, but most importantly — it can make us insecure (the above-mentioned are really just symptoms of being insecure and full of self-doubt).
This physiological reaction is only natural. But the urge to express yourself and your feelings and needs — that is only natural, too.
So why do we feel this tingling feeling in our stomach right before sending a risky text? Or raising our voice to have everyone in the room hear about our idea? Or sending an email to that managing director and enquiring what you can do in order to become part of his team?
Well, for one thing, we know what being hurt and/or rejected feels like. It is hardcoded in our memory — we remember how unpleasant it is. On the one hand, we are trying to preserve ourselves by not taking a chance that might end up causing us pain or embarrassment. On the other hand, we feel the need to break free, to stop counting the ‘loves me, loves me not’ petals, to do away with the uncertainty and clarify the situation once and for all. The need to have our voice heard. The need to stand up for ourselves.
We are conflicted — self-preservation vs staying true to ourselves.
You think your almost-lover’s indifference or rejection will kill you. You think people will twist their faces in disapproval when they hear your idea. You think the MD will laugh in your face for even trying, when you’re “clearly not good enough”.
You focus on these potential outcomes specifically. You turn them into a worst-case-scenario. Naturally, your brain is now in defence mode — it will do anything to prevent them from happening… even if that means suppressing yourself and your needs. You want to be heard and understood, but you also don’t want to be if that means triggering a particular unwanted and feared outcome.
And I’m here to tell you something you deep down already know — you are wrong.
The worst-case-scenario is keeping quiet, settling, tolerating, or half-heartedly standing up for yourself.
Step 1 — Stop and Think
Although true, this is not a “if they do/don’t do x, y, z, they are not worth your time/your effort/dedication to the job” story.
No, this is about You. Understand your needs and make it a priority to do all you can to fulfil those needs.
You are feeling sad/upset/embarrassed/hurt/angry, and that needs to be addressed. Do not apologise for your feelings or wants, do not be embarrassed by them. Own them. Do what needs to be done to let them out and take the burden off your shoulders. It is your right to do so. You are human, and it is only human to feel. We have the right to want to develop and improve ourselves in all aspects of our lives.
Stop, think, and collect yourself before you hit ‘send’, before you shout out your idea to the open room, before you pick up the phone and call the MD. Not because you need to question once again whether you should really do it, no. You need to stop and think, so that you can remind yourself it is your right to want to improve yourself, to stand up for yourself, to want to change your life for the better.
Doing this will give you the strength to welcome any possible outcome.
Well, you stayed true to yourself. And you were pretty determined to do it. You put yourself on pedestal — you took care of your mental state, you took care of your needs, you showed yourself you love and respect yourself.
Yes, yourself — not that guy you’re desperately trying to get to like you, not your lover, not your ex, not your boss, not even the person interviewing you for that job you’ve wanted for so long, but yourself! Be selfish and unapologetic!
Step 2 — Happiness comes from taking action
Girl, just do it!
Now, you are ready. So go for it! No holding back!
- You more-than-deserve the positive outcome of your action.
- You are strong enough to weather the storm you might be sucked into as a result of your action. And overcoming it will only make you stronger. Give you a new perspective. Change your outlook on your relationship, your career, your life… for the better.
So what are you waiting for?
This post was previously published on medium.com.