Lady Ponder

A blog for the real and contemporary woman

A close up picture of a woman's face with her mouth taped shut. The words its time to speak up written over the tape.

Not speaking up does not equal kindness

I am far from perfect, but the 1 thing I am is predominantly polite and friendly. Which sounds great righ…..wrong

For me being agreeable meant less conflict, less stress.

I am that person that would just stand there with the feeling of bewilderment inside while the words yes, sure, I understand, ok, come out of my mouth in absolute betrayal, I wasn’t always that person, but somehow I have become her.

Now there has been a magnitude of things going on in my personal life for the past few months, which includes moving house, being 7 months pregnant, co-habituating with my in-laws while in the process of building a new place, and some more frustrations I won’t even get into right now.

Yesterday I was again in a position where my parenting skills were challenged, and instead of speaking up, I bit my tongue and kept quiet. While every bone in my body was screaming how dare you, I kept quite. Probably in an attempt to not rock the boat, or in fear of being “disrespectful” or for whatever reasoned I have convinced myself off why it is the right thing to do.

Afterwards I sat there in stunned silence wondering why I didn’t say any of the countless thoughts now rushing through my head. And then, suddenly…..darkness……A grayscale photo of a woman's face and shoulders with the words Don't ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance or my kindness for weakness.

I was angry, no, I was furious at myself, at everyone.

The rage forced itself to the forefront of my consciousness, demanding to be acknowledged.

I suddenly realised that the roots of my emotions are way deeper and tangled than anything happening in that moment.

My “politeness” or “niceness” has become venomous to my entire being. I have forgotten how to speak my mind, and I have been abused because of it.

I have always taken pride in my authenticity, and naturally part of that is striving to be a better person, however in the process I have somehow convinced myself that I can never say what’s on my mind if it would cause any sort of conflict or uneasiness whatsoever….I have forgotten how to be me, who am I?

Now, no matter how hard I push anger and sadness into my gut, it inevitably seeps out as frustration and annoyance. It’s not only about not speaking up, but it sure is a good start to rediscover myself.

So in honor of this newfound and totally liberating revelation, I vow to actively focus attention on being more confident in being just me, and trusting my emotions. So when something needs to be said, I will say it. Further I have learned that silence is deemed approval – When I do not approve, I will not keep quite. And lastly when I feel a fundamental part of who I am, or what I believe in is being challenged, I have a duty to defend my standpoint right there and then.

I hope I don’t, but if I offend some people along the way, so be it.

Sometimes we need to be raw, authentic, and unapologetic.

So in the famous words of Kate Perry

“ You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar


don't mistake silence for weaknessparentingpersonalself-transformationspeaking up

Cindy Breet • January 26, 2015

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  1. Trisha January 28, 2015 - 4:16 pm Reply

    I think that we are also culturally taught not to speak up for ourselves. On the one hand there is the culture pressure to be “nice girls”, and nice girls don’t disagree or say no.

    There is also a huge stigma around selfishness and so because we don’t want to be perceived as selfish we often say yes when we actually would like to say no, or we skirt around saying no. And somehow we then stop doing the things that we need to do in order to preserve our own sense of personal integrity.

    I look forward to hearing you roar!

    I thought of you when I read about rewiring our brains for happiness this morning:

    Be on your own side.

    An essential ingredient of happiness, as research has recently reaffirmed, is setting an intention for joy and then insisting upon it.

    “We don’t get on our own side; we don’t take a stand in which we are for ourselves, and that’s foundational,” says Hanson. “There’s a joke in the therapy world: ‘How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.’ It’s lame, and it’s profound, because right there is square one.”

    He explains that if someone we love is upset or worried, we try to help them move beyond that state of mind. But when we are upset or worried ourselves, we often don’t help ourselves the same way. Instead, we tend to stay upset and ruminate over things longer than we need to.

    • Cindy Breet January 30, 2015 - 1:14 pm Reply

      Thanks for you comment Trisha, I thoroughly enjoyed the read you suggested. xxx

  2. Veronica January 28, 2015 - 4:17 pm Reply

    Well said Cindy! I hope you are going to put your money where your mouth is.

  3. Ronel January 30, 2015 - 12:41 am Reply

    I can definately relate to this. Loved the post

    • Cindy Breet January 30, 2015 - 1:15 pm Reply

      Thank you so much! Now let’s implement! Xxx

  4. Misunderstood January 30, 2015 - 11:43 am Reply

    I think it is admirable that you have created a space where you can put your feelings out there regardless of what the scrutiny and comments of others could be. I was once as you are now. I could listen to people, expecting things and saying anything they wanted not taking others feelings in consideration and in my head I would scream out so many times the words swirling in my head but could never get myself to utter. Unfortunately I would always just turn around in the fear of saying something that would anger someone or forbid anyone would get agitated and get into a verbal altercation with me. Poor little me would then just burst into tears and totally resent myself afterwards for not being able to raise my opinion and mostly for never being able to stand up for myself. Days afterwards I would only be able to say how I felt at that moment. Only when the situation was safe. And I did not have to be scared of things spiraling out of my control.

    I truly cannot remember exactly when that person disappeared in the fog of self – exploration. One day I just realized that I do not recognize the person in the mirror. Who is she? And where have the old ‘likeable’ and ‘ agreeable’ me disappear to. Some days I would not miss the old me, but there are days that it dawns on me and I realize that I do not always like the person that I have become. The old me would definitely not be slapping a woman in a store because she said something that I did not agree with ( yes, I did that! Not proud to say but I did ). Also the old me would never find herself next to a woman in a car beating the window with her fist because the driver blew me off in traffic ( ok, I did nothing to deserve that finger, but still my actions were definitely not what the old graceful and softy me would ever have done.

    Should I apologize for being the straightforward “ beaitchy” person that I have amounted to. But then I think that surely the people and circumstances that caused me to become who I am will not apologize for making me this way. I think even my own mother can’t stand me. Because I cannot seem to stop speaking my mind irrespective of what the result will be. I simply talk before I think and wham before I fully realize what has happened my words are out and I can never take back what was said.

    Ok, I can go on and rant and rave about how life is unfair and and. But at the end of the day I still believe that life is a learning curve. Life is the worst or best teacher there has ever been, but it is up to ourselves to make that distinction. I will only strive to become a better me. To learn from whatever I do that shame me and not let myself do that ever again.

    To come back to your blog, I agree with you, we should always try to do what is best for us. We should never have to be in a situation where we regret what we should have said or done or never should have said or done. But in this life is it really always possible? We are at the end of the day only human, and thank goodness for that. There is always a new tomorrow, always a chance for change. Or is there…..

    • Cindy Breet January 30, 2015 - 1:08 pm Reply

      Dear Misunderstood

      Thank you so much for your comment.
      I think my inability to speak up for myself initiated when I was still very young and intensely insecure, eager to prove myself and desperate to be liked, and simply “stuck” through the years. For me it was truly a liberating moment realizing that I am no longer that young insecure girl. I also realised that resentment I feel towards the people I am not speaking up to, is not necessarily fair when they are blissfully unaware of my opinion.

      That being said, I think it is extremely important to try and strike a balance. My intent is always to defuse conflict rather than cause it, I simply realised now that I won’t do that at the expense of my sanity or bliss, and that I can (and should) demand the respect I deserve.

      There’s another fallacy at play here, one that suggests that we have to be antagonistic or combative in order to stand up for ourselves, now I don’t know exactly how to get that perfect balance yet, but I know leaning too much towards either sides will ultimately only create anger and sadness.

      I truly hope we both find that balance. xxx

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