I recently had a conversation with my Hubby concerning how I felt people perceive me. I have been told on 1 too many occasions recently that people feel as if they have to ‘protect’ me. When I asked what they meant these were some of the replies:
“Well you know Tiffany, you are so kindhearted you need someone to stick up for you”
“Someone needs to defend you because you rarely do”
“You let too many people walk all over you”
I was so taken back I didn’t even know what to say! Is that really how people view me? Some type of doormat or fragile individual being walked over who needs others to protect me?
When I addressed it to my Hubby he said some of the same things. That I tend to try and see the best in everyone even when they are showing me their worse. *Insert open mouth here*
Am I A Punk?
I admit, I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. If someone comes at me in a mean manner I try to think “maybe they have something going on in their lives” “I may not be the true target” “Did they have a bad day?”. I don’t want to lash out at someone simply to find out they may have been in more need of my kindness than my reaction to their own cruelty. Does this make me a weakling? Is my concern for others feelings and emotional place giving people the perception that I am well in the simplest terms a punk?
In the heat of a moment when someone is either being mean, angry or simple nasty I always ask myself “Is telling them off right now going to change them? Will it solve this issue?” If I can’t answer yes, I usually let them finish whatever rant they may be having and move on. The way I have come to see it is if whatever they may be saying or doing doesn’t take away from me as a person or who I feel I am why fight?
Yet now I am beginning to see perhaps my ‘lack of defense’ is becoming a reason for people’s attacks? Perhaps I am making myself an easy target?
As a bit of background I feel I must say that as a Teenager I had a very quick temper. I would tell people off, give them as piece of my mind and set them straight without a second thought or care to the long term impacts. As I grew older and started to realize that my words would at times cause more damage than good not only to the person but to myself as well. In my anger and frustration I would say things hurtful and unnecessary that if I had simply paused for a moment would have never crossed my lips.
I was raised in a very talented sarcastic family. Yup that’s right we could take sarcasm and smart remarks to a new level. We still can. When I speak with members of my family we are sarcastic from the jump and those who listen in from the outside always think we are being cruel or mean to each other when in reality it is like our own personal language.
Yet when I was outside my relatives it would come off as mean and cruel. I had to learn to curb my first instinct and think before I spoke. I realized this more and more as my interactions expanded outside of my family who never needed me to say ‘sarcasm implied’ because somehow they always just ‘knew’.
Take A Pause
So instead of reacting I began to pause more. Is this something I simply cannot let go? What if I say something too damaging for an apology? The old saying that only sticks and stones do damage is so untrue. I have been the victim of words and the scars they can leave. The emotional pain and heartache they can cause simply because someone chose to say what was on their mind instead of what may have truly been in their hearts.
No Walking Here
Now that I know people are beginning to see me as someone who needs protecting should I change? Should I put out a ‘No Walking Here’ sign to let everyone no that I Am NOT A Doormat for their misguided steps into anger, meanness or hatred? I’m not sure.
No, I am not a doormat but I am also not the angry person I used to be. Trust me my kindness has a limit. I will not let anyone destroy who I am with their words or actions but I will also not allow their anger to pull me in. There are times where silence is the greatest weapon there is.
Where Are The Cameras?
A funny thing happened the other day which is a great example of how my mind works in situations where others may think I should speak up and where I feel it isn’t that serious.
I was shopping in a store and picked up a purse I really liked but wanted to bounce off the Hubby for opinions first. As I was standing there looking at it and trying to see if it was something I really wanted (as we all do) I felt someone near me. As I turned a woman said in a really forceful manner “I was getting ready to get that purse”
Now, in my mind I immediately thought “well I guess you’re too late” Instead I turned and smiled and said “Yeah, It’s a really great purse.” Of course she looked at me like I was crazy. I’m not sure if she thought I was going to hand it over to her or what.
To cut this short she ended up following me around the store making little comments on how she really liked it, how she didn’t think it went with my skin-tone (YES She said that!), if I was sure I wanted it, etc. I mean anything this lady could come up with to discourage me from getting that purse she said it.
Of course in my head I’m thinking “Where are the cameras? Am I on some sort of show because this chick is bugging! Why is she still here?”
Yet, I just kept smiling telling her I was getting it and going on my way. I purchased the purse and that was the end of it. I had what I wanted and no confrontation was needed. As I saw it the woman was making herself look silly and not truly taking anything away from me by her actions. So why not maintain my character and let her do her?
When I shared this story with a few friends they immediately said this was a prime reason they felt they needed to ‘protect’ me. I explained, the way I saw it if I decided to react to her actions in a negative way it would have simply escalated and possibly ended badly. Yes, I may have ‘defended’ myself but to what end?
Have you ever been called a ‘push-over’ ?
How do you respond to negative people?
What do you feel qualifies as
the right time to ‘defend’ yourself?
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