I have always prided myself as a kind person, going out of my way to help anyone who needed it. I’ve always considered it a strength.
What I have come to realize now, is that it can also be a weakness. Making others more comfortable was a detriment if it makes me more uncomfortable. I didn’t value my own worth, so I sure didn’t expect for others to value my worth, nor is it their responsibility to.
I used to think that being kind to unkind people would change them for the better, but I was wrong. I was naïve to think that everyone was a good person, and had good intentions. Not standing up for myself in those situations will only encourage them to continue to do it to the next person.
The first example that was pivotal for me was a simple, common occurrence. A man stepped in front of me in line at a grocery store. He only had a few items compared to my full cart, but he just assumed he could pass ahead. I hesitated, feeling uncomfortable because it could lead to a confrontation, a negative comment, or a dirty look. I rolled my cart around him, and he tried telling me and the cashier that I had too many items for that lane. The cashier said I was fine, and began to ring me up as we smiled at each other. I absolutely would have let him pass if he would have asked me, but I didn't want him to assume that his time was more valuable than mine.
A few months later, it happened again. But this time, I was even more confident. Recognizing the pattern, it’s now getting easier and easier to stand up for myself like never before.