I need to get this off my chest.
Recently, Stylist posted a tweet from @TARYNxOFFICIAL on Instagram that said:
“I hate how “being the bigger person” and “not getting out of character” are viewed as some high level of growth or maturity. There’s nothing mature or commendable about ppl disrespect[ing] you without consequence.”
Finally, someone has spoken out about this misconstrued idea that taking the high road in the face of retaliation is nothing more than allowing a person to disrespect you without consequence.
This has been getting to me for a while, and let us not pretend this isn’t a female-centric issue. I’m a naturally confrontational person. It’s part of my personality, but if you spoke to anyone who knew me, rude or disrespectful would not be words they used to describe me. That’s because confrontation in its true form comes from wanting to get to the bottom of a situation so everyone involved can move on.
However, if you’re a woman who embodies this, “rude”, “disrespectful”, and “not in control of your emotions” are how you’ll be perceived. When I retreat inside myself, that’s when I know a situation is not one I’m easily going to get over. There’s an old saying – or perhaps it’s less of a saying and more of an observation – that says, “as long as I’m still talking, you’re fine, but the moment I go quiet, that’s when you should worry.” That’s me to a T.
People see confrontation as a bad thing, but the fact is society preaches “taking the high road” and “being the bigger person” more than we preach sticking up for ourselves and being true to how we feel.
We see confrontation as an act of not being in control of our emotions, but I vehemently disagree. Would it not make more sense that the person who is confident enough or willing to squash a situation immediately is more emotionally mature than the person who will let it fester and ultimately ruin their day – or more?
A friend of mine recently had a drama at work to the point where she was reduced to tears. After sympathising with her, I told her she needed to speak her truth and confront the woman who made her question her worth because of one incident. The woman who berated her in front of her colleagues wasn’t worried about how she came across – and she was in the wrong! She was told to “let it slide” and “rise above it” by those around her, but I said, “fuck that, let this person know what they’ve done to you”. Simply because regardless of what resolution it brings, a resolution it will be no less. Whether she hates you afterwards or apologises, you’ll have your answer and know where you stand.
Taking the high road when broken down essentially means ‘let people treat you however they want to, and you can silently condemn them whilst they carry on thinking there are no consequences to their actions.’
Confronting people and holding grudges doesn’t always have to be the soul-destroying act everyone makes it out to be. How often have you heard that holding grudges rot you from the inside out? What holding grudges do, in my opinion, is remind people they can’t just behave however they want and expect you to be fine with it.
Holding a grudge doesn’t have to be a full-time job. You don’t have to sully someone’s name at every chance, turn people against them or make it your sole mission to get revenge. Frankly, who has the time for all that? It’s all about intention. There’s nothing wrong with holding people accountable if you no longer feel comfortable having them exist in your life in a pre-grudge capacity after what they’ve done.
Everyone has different levels of tolerance, and if there were people in your life who you wouldn’t feel comfortable trusting again or being close with again because what they did crossed a line, that’s OK. One person’s grudge is no one else’s business. They don’t have to live with it; you do. And, if that’s how you’ve chosen to handle the situation because you can’t see another way passed it, as long as it’s not eating you alive, have as many grudges as you want.
The same goes for confrontation. Confrontation insights feelings of disrespect and rudeness, but not all confrontations have to be hostile. You can speak your truth in a way that simply lets people know how you’re feeling. If they take it differently and get all irate and bent out of shape, that’s their business.
Your truth is the only thing you have in situations that make you feel powerless, vulnerable or worthless. By not confronting someone, you’re further perpetuating those feelings for yourself and allowing them to make you feel that way. To me, that’s worse than the few moments of awkwardness that come from stepping up to someone who thought they could get away with treating you poorly.
I declare we find our voices again. Stop letting the fear of appearing too real, upsetting people and not holding others accountable for the actions stop us from owning the one thing that’s ours – especially if you’re a woman. Society has no problem silencing and gaslighting us until we lose value in ourselves. Fuck shrinking yourself in the face of adversity and reclaim your right to feel, act, and confront someone in whatever way you see fit. Your thoughts, feelings, and values matter, and it’s high time we started reminding people that.
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