I'm very picky with who I give my energy to. I prefer to reserve my time, intensity and spirit exclusively to those who reflect sincerity.
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I've suffered enough.
Some people choose to ignore me or be abrupt with me, perhaps because of the way a look. And I've not been able to accept that too well.
Nobody likes everybody. If they don't treat you right, you just have to walk away from them. I know that. Then why would I keep trying to be nice to them as if to say "like me, like me, like me"? I think I have the reason.
Trying To Compensate My Speech Impediment
All my life, I've had a speech problem. I do stutter but not so much. I just cannot come up with the best sentences whenever I try to explain something. I'm also a peacemaker, a friendly guy. To compensate for my speech problem, I try to be as nice as I can to everyone. I smile a lot at strangers. I smile at everyone I talk to. I've always been good at starting up a conversation because I hate creating an awkward silence.
I would meet someone for the first time and immediately say,
"Hi, how're you doing? Wow, I like your jacket, where did you get it? Oh, I love that shop!"
That's the kind of guy I am. You do that, don't you, if you consider yourself to be reasonably friendly? Without thinking, you try to demonstrate your friendly attitude and subconsciously ensure you will make the other person feel comfortable, right?
I do that all the time, no problem. The trouble is because of the stammer, I cannot take the conversation to a deeper level. I may be good at a superficial "hi-how-are-you" but then I quickly turn out to be boring, so people often walk away after a few minutes. "Nice talking to you, see you around!"
That's totally fine by me because the inability to maintain an interesting conversation is entirely my fault. I've been trying and trying and trying to talk better all my life. But with the fundamental speech impediment, I haven't been able to change much.
My last resort is to be as nice as I can to others. At least they know that I'm not an unsociable person. I may not talk to you much, but I'm not being unapproachable.
I Have Been Weak
The real trouble is when people turn to me and talk to me like I'm a child. Yes, there are all kinds of people in this world. Some are arrogant in nature, always angry, whatever. I'm not talking about them.
I'm talking about people who are busy chatting with others, laughing, and having a great time, all of a sudden turn to me, the quiet one, and tell me what to do, or make me feel so small. Then they go back to chatting with the others.
What? Who the hell are you to talk to me like that? I'm not your servant. Do you employ a servant at home?
That's what I really want to say but I can't. Because I'm not quick enough. So instead, I just put on a brave face - a smiley face - pretending to be okay to let people talk to me like I'm a servant or a child.
Whenever I was ignored, intimidated, bullied, and made feel so small, I've always pretended to be okay. When it happens, it upsets me for days, weeks, a long time. I don't tell anyone that.
It's all my fault. Because I'm weak.
I have been weak all my life, and I've had enough of not standing up for myself.
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Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all.
Self-Defence By Silence
The real strength of a human being is about understanding others and protecting those whom you care about, including yourself. If someone offends you, don't respond with a loud shout. Instead, just be gracious and walk away...that's what they say.
But you're not dealing with a stranger on the street. Standing up against the arrogance of people that you know isn't easy. At work, in a social place, in your friends' circle...
Either you literally walk away, confront them and get them to apologise, or keep smiling and pretend that you're okay, isn't it?
Confrontation is difficult for someone like me who lacks communication skills. I would be likely to create an embarrassing drama. Walking away would also create an awkward atmosphere, it would be stressful.
So I've often chosen to let them win, tried to be generous and pretend to be okay with them. I know I've lost a sense of dignity by doing that many times. Did I ever really look like a generous, forgiving person with a big heart? I doubt it. Did I look like a loser? I doubt it too.
I must have looked non-existent. People barely care about other people much, you know.
Then why would I care about others so much?
Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
My problem was that I so desperately valued harmonious connections with whoever I came across in my life that I often chose to sacrifice my own dignity.
The only people that matter to me should be myself and my loved ones - I've always been aware of that. I shouldn't waste my precious time on those who don't deserve it - I've always known that too. So what was wrong with me?
What was wrong was that I didn't stop smiling. Because I believed, and still believe that a decent human being should be nice and polite to whoever they speak to. I wasn't showing my anger. I was giving the wrong signal when I felt humiliated. I thought I was "being adult about it" but in hindsight, I was just trying to please everyone.
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Do it for yourself. You don't need to prove anything to anyone.
Communication Is Important But...
Communication may be the key to everything in life. It is the key. If people misunderstand you, that's because you haven't expressed yourself in the right way. Good communication brings people together...for sure.
But for people with a speech problem like me, verbal communication can only play a little part. If I found something so important to discuss, I would have to communicate in writing. Not everyone understands that. I'm no longer trying to please anywhere I don't care about. No longer going to waste my precious time trying to clear up misunderstandings verbally with those who don't deserve it.
I should only care about the only people who matter to me, myself, and my own mental health. I am fearless, and I'm not gonna let anything get in my way.