I have long been an admirer of strong individuals . People who have set firm boundaries coupled with the strength to stand up in their defence. People who are not afraid to say ‘no’ and afterwards spend no time over-analysing, toing and froing, wondering whether they had done or said the right thing, or come across as too harsh. People who basically stand up for themselves regardless of what other people think and do not allow anyone to believe that they are ‘doormats’ that can be mistreated and walked over.
I had always belonged to the doormat faction of society, and had been sentenced to remain there until life’s gruelling, debilitating and often relentless lessons forced me to challenge myself and rethink absolutely everything, because there comes a time when one simply asks themselves “When is enough, enough?” My personal belief is that this limit varies within each individual despite the ever-present national moral compass which advises us on what is acceptable and what is not, because sometimes we just disregard it. Us doormats have a habit of downplaying incidents, making excuses for other people’s behaviour when it is public, and covering it up when it is not. We blame ourselves believing that their reaction was due to a mistake or shortcoming of our own and had we have simply not done/said such and such, then they would have not done/said what they did. We believe in people’s words and when they apologise, make excuses or promises of the future, we are gullible. I am in no way suggesting that we write off compassion completely and all of the other wonderful traits that make up our good character, but just that we begin to recognise when something is not quite right. Some people are able to draw the line straight away, and put an immediate halt to what is happening, for others it comes after a few occurrences and for some, that line is never drawn.
Drawing the line and standing up for oneself is often scary. There is an unwavering fear of loss, uncertainty and instability. We need to ask ourselves if the fear of the future consequences of standing up for oneself is greater than the fear of the future consequences of remaining in the present situation. Where is our own personal breaking point? When is enough, enough? Is it enough when you give up on your dreams? Is it enough when the tears have flowed so much that the eyes are no longer able to cry? Is it enough when continuous incidents desensitise and numb the emotions so that one becomes conditioned to the new normality? Is it enough when one no longer cares for the other and those qualities that make a person known as a thoughtful and sensitive individual are lost and the victim has become unrecognisable? Is it enough when one is constantly battling with the voices within, arguing, replaying, reimagining and causing such anxiety that a good night of sleep is impossible? For some it will not be enough until that critical moment has been reached and one is left at absolute breaking point. It can be a scary place where you find that you are no longer living, just simply existing, or it can be the defining moment in life when enough has become enough and all those fears and uncertainties that caused you to remain in oppression are not as scary as the emotional darkness that has seized the soul and crippled the mind.
At breaking point one becomes prepared to stand up and free themselves even if it means risking everything, including your life, because remaining stagnant is also a death sentence. At breaking point one questions the reason why they are staying. One questions whether they are truly the strong person they thought they had been all along for being patient, not upsetting/disappointing everyone and internalising the pain so that nobody else has to feel it, and begins to wonder if in fact the real strength is to stand up and say “Enough is enough!” even if that means compromising everything you have? Sometimes the solution is to walk away, and sometimes the solution is to use the God-given voice you own. It is scary, and it is empowering. It is also enlightening to discover that in fact, it has been the aggressor that has been the weak one all along. It was never you. They are weak because they are the ones living in fear, fear of losing control and so they treat others unkindly because they are too weak to control their own emotions and their own tongues. They are weak because after inflicting so much pain, they cannot digest the result of their actions and so believe that they themselves are the victims.
I no longer belong to the doormat faction. I am still thoughtful, caring and considerate of others, but within a balanced perspective. I use my voice everywhere, and in addition to standing up for myself and what I believe in, I realise that I have a lot to say! We are all on a journey and I am just about to embark on a new chapter in mine. I am starting new things and dreaming about the near future. Evolving and breaking free can often be a dangerous time because aggressors become scared. Stay happy, stay safe, seek help and remember that you are wonderful!