Taking Back My Consent

Words are powerful things. They can be used to inspire, bless, and encourage, but they can also tear down, destroy, and kill. Even a word as Tiny as the words “NO” can have a significant effect on how we view ourselves.   We can let them take us to the highest of highs or to the lowest of lows. We can embrace them, or dwell on them.

The power all belongs to us.

Did you catch that?   We have the power. NOT the person using the words.

Us.

You and Me.

We control how the words will affect us.

In my younger days I didn’t have the firmest grasp on this. I would listen to the words others would use about and against me, and I fell into the trap of believing them and living my life that way.

Back in high school I was a huge collector of earrings. The bigger the better. My favorite pair was a cheap pair I had picked up at Claire’s Boutique. They were big wire hoops with the New York City Skyline designed in them.

 

I wore those earrings ALL the time. I loved the way they felt when I shook my head, and at the time I was really into theatre, so of course having  the NYC skyline on my ears made me the coolest of cool.

One evening, while out with my mother and some of her friends, I was wearing my beloved NYC earrings. I felt so hip and cool in them. No one else had a pair, and I just knew they were the envy of every girl in my school. Imagine my shock and horror when out of the blue, one of my mother’s friends casually and innocently informed me that, given my short and chubby nature, wearing such large earrings really was not flattering to me.

Now before anyone goes into a rage, this friend is one of the sweetest and uncaddy ladies I know. She was in NO way trying to make me feel bad, be nasty, or ugly. The comment was totally innocent and no one even blinked an eye when she said it.

But I did.

That was the last time I wore those earrings.  They were immediately taken off and placed in my jewelry box….never to see the light of day again.  I felt so insecure, fat, and ugly. It was another 5 years before I found the nerve to wear big hoop earrings again.

Later on I became obsessed with Eleanor Roosevelt. She was such a strong, and inspiring woman. I loved her attitude on life, and how she never gave into cheap words. She inspired me so much that I even named my dog after her.  🙂

One of the most powerful statements Eleanor ever made was this:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Isn’t that wonderful? I hold all cards. People can use their words to belittle, or discourage me, but they have to have MY permission in order for it to take effect.

Today I fully live by that motto. At some point during the week, there is always someone who wants to make me feel small and insignificant.  Whether intentional or unintentional, it will happen.

The difference?

How we respond.

I don’t have to fall victim to others words.  The only power they have over me, is the power I CHOSE to let them have.  Do you know how much more enjoyable life is when you don’t worry about what others say?

Absolutely freeing.

My value is NOT found in what others think or say about me, and once I realized that, my life took a huge dramatic turn for the better.

So what if I like big earrings? So what if I like to wear my leggings everywhere I go? So what that I am not married? So what that I treat my dog like a small human?

I am happy with that…. and I am no longer giving my consent to others wishing to make me feel any less.

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6 thoughts on “Taking Back My Consent

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