As little girls we’re often taught to be kind, courteous and polite to random strangers and awful human beings even to our detriment. We have to be likable to awful human beings. We must allow them into our spaces out of politeness. We are told to speak back when spoken to or listen to some random babbling fool because their gender, title or age.
I hated when my mother taught me this. Even as a child, I knew it was wrong. I asked myself why do I have to speak to this person knowing he beats his wife at home? Why do I have talk to this woman knowing she disrespects her parents? Why do I have to speak to a creepy man who makes me incredibly uncomfortable? And because of this, every time I saw them, when they spoke to me, I had to speak to them. If not, they’d call me rude and it would reflect on my mother’s parenting skills. Why did she do this knowing how it made me feel? I can only surmise my mother was only doing what she was taught and her mother was taught the same by my great-grandmother. Most of it was due to their interpretation religious teachings. I had to unlearn this.
How? I recognized simply existing doesn’t mean everyone should be listened, spoken or paid attention to. Age, sex, income, number of followers, titles or even social standing doesn’t equate to some mystical hidden wisdom or being giving automatic deference. They’re humans. That’s it.
Next, when people rudely interrupted my life, I saw these people didn’t have my interests at heart. They only cared about themselves. They violated my space and wanted to drain me of my time and energy. If they did care, why are they compelled to violate my space? An example is when I posted something on my social media space and a random stranger decides to challenge my comment or even worse my intelligence or looks. Now if I was in a space that encourages debate then I’d understand. Since I wasn’t, this person violated my space. The same thing happens offline when a random stranger says smile, follows you and if you don’t respond how they want you to, well you’re rude even though they interrupted your life.
Look, just because we’re women and because we’re women, it doesn’t mean people are entitled to your time, energy or even attention. We don’t have to be polite or nice. When you are uncomfortable you have a right to set boundaries. Use them. Ignore people, walk away and if you’re on the internet, give yourself permission to not engage and legitimize some random stranger’s opinion. Who cares what they think? Use the darn block button. I use it ruthlessly to protect you. You must do the same for yourself. Protect your time, energy, spirit and mind.
Have a great day. The only limit you have is the one you have placed on yourself. Think and be limitless.
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