Those who know me in person may find this next statement hard to believe but I’m going to say it anyway–I have a hard time standing up for myself.
Yes, it’s true that I’m outspoken, but often, when someone does something rude or inconsiderate or hurtful, I don’t say anything. I internalize it, keep it to myself and blow up at inappropriate times. Or maybe I stuff it down by eating another pumpkin chocolate chip muffin (since I have approximately 13,000 in my house). Or maybe I use it as another way to beat myself up and say that perhaps I deserve to be treated that way because I clearly did something wrong.
It does wonders for my self-esteem, let me tell you.
By not standing up for myself, not only do I hurt myself mentally but I also wind up inconveniencing myself. For instance, if I place an order for something–let’s use food as an example because why not–and it comes out wrong, I typically will not say anything. I will just deal with the problem because a) I’m convinced that something awful will happen to my food if I send it back (I *might* have paranoia issues sometimes) and b) I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
I do this more often than I care to admit, and oftentimes, I just take the wrong product because I have limited time to wait for the right one and the wrong one is better than none at all. Then I profusely apologize when I have a crappy business card (this happened at one full-time job) or an ill-fitting wedding dress (yup, that happened) or whatever else. I do vote with my voice and let people know not to go to XYZ company or eat at 123 restaurant and I also won’t give them any more of my money. Word of mouth is essential when you live in a small state so if I mention that a local company is crap, news travels fast.
But I never let the right people know.
Most of the time.
Sometimes, though, I decide that I’ve had enough and I really don’t have the time or patience to deal with a problem. Also, my bank account is exhausted. It can’t really take any additional hits. Which is why, this past week, I stood up for myself on two-TWO–separate occasions! And I was successful in getting done what I needed!
Time #1–The Library
For the 9 years I lived in my old house, I had a regular library that I used. Getting there took about 10 minutes, maybe 15 or 20 if the traffic was really heavy. So, not too bad. Now that I’ve moved, I live approximately 45 minutes from that library. That’s too damn far, especially when I another branch 15 minutes from my new house. So, when I got a notice that books I had on hold (The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls and Serena by Ron Rash, for those who are interested) were available at my old library, I was frustrated. I really didn’t want to have to drive to that branch. It’s a waste of time, I already spend way too much money on gas thanks to living in the middle of no where and cheer competitions, and we really need to save the mileage on my car thanks to the lease restrictions (side note: I will NEVER lease a car again. It was something that had to be done due to a major financial pinch a few years ago but never, ever again).
So I made a phone call. And I asked if the books could be transferred to the new, closer branch. And they said yes! Who knew? Now I get my books and I get to save on all the areas I need to save.
Time #2–The Gym
Because the husband has a gym in his office building and works hours that don’t allow him the opportunity to use our YMCA, we removed him from our membership (hooray for saving money). For whatever reason, that caused a glitch in the Y’s system and they charged us twice this month for our membership fee. I noticed it because I compulsively check our bank account (we had some issues with compromised information at our alma mater as well as a stolen card number last year so I keep a pretty close watch on our account). The other day, I went to the front desk to ask what happened, and I was told that the money would be refunded.
Imagine my surprise when 3 days later, no refund had been issued. So I called again. And spoke to a very pleasant, helpful lady who figured out why I had no refund and actually processed it this time. She even emailed me a receipt! We’ll get our money back in a day or two. Just in time to pay for October, too.
Because I’m trying to work on improving myself, this includes standing up for myself and asking questions when I’ve lost money or need to be inconvenienced. I’m trying to recognize that sometimes, it’s okay to want things to be easy for me (also, I deserve my money back). The worst people can tell me is no. Then I’m in the situation I didn’t want but I can at least assure myself that I tried.
In these two situations, the main difference between present Jana and past Jana is that I got the confidence, and took the initiative, to actually make the phone calls. In the past, I would have put the onus on me to work out the problem instead of asking for help. But in the present, I acknowledge that that’s ridiculous. So I did it. And I got the results I wanted. Which gives me confidence to do it again.
Note: Make no mistake. If someone messes with my kid, I absolutely will not tolerate it. I will get in their face if I have to. You do NOT hurt my child in any way and get away with it. Same with my animals. Sometimes my husband but he’s bigger than me so it’s more intimidating if he stands up for himself. But all 5’3″ of me will be right behind him.
How about you? Are you good about standing up for yourself in situations?