Growing up, we were taught to be peaceful and to avoid situations that led to confrontations and chaos, even if we were being hurt by the actions of others. Therefore, having developed the mindset of avoiding confrontational circumstances as much as possible, I have often let several things slide under the carpet, even when I should have spoken up for myself. The fear of generating strife and controversy by speaking out, have frequently left me to remain mum, even when I should have been vocal.
For example, I chose to suffer the brutality and demeaning attitude of a former boss, for as long as I remained with that organization, an approach I know wouldn’t have adopted if it were happening today. And I understand that many people may still be held back by fear of being retaliated against, and have continued to live with this proverbial phrase, “silence is golden”. But not anymore, my dear friend, because silence is no longer sacred; because you might be doing yourself a great disservice in the process, if you are not standing up for yourself.
Almost everyone in the globe should be familiar with the recent sexual misconduct allegations that have rocked the whole of Hollywood, including some corporate big-time organizations. Whereby, women (and in some cases men), have come out in their droves to accuse high profiled personalities of inappropriate sexual behaviors. In the past, victims of sexual harassment found it difficult to speak up because of the fear of people doubting their accounts or retribution from the perpetrators. That was in the past, because now there is a lot of media awareness about the matter, and victims are now being celebrated and hailed as heroes, while the perpetrators have been shamed, and in some cases fired from their positions, and relegated in society. This media firestorm led to the all-time “#MeToo” hashtag, which is still thriving even up till this very moment, on social media. Therefore, staying silent after a harassment is no longer the norm, because silence is no longer golden. You should speak up for yourself, if you have been abused and vilified, because no one else would ever be able to speak up for you, better than you can.I was a victim of workplace discrimination with a former employer, and I never spoke up when I should have. Many organizations have policies and resources in place, on how to channel reports of discrimination or harassment of any form in the work environment. And many times, these policies refer employees to personnel in the Human Resources (HR) department. Well, according to Liz Ryan’s (Author of “Reinvention Roadmap” and Forbes Contributor) article “I should never have trusted HR to keep my secret”, published on January 16, 2018 on forbes.com, that may not be the best thing to do right now. Liz says, “It is risky to confide in HR. I advise people who are dealing with the most serious workplace issues (like sexual harassment or discrimination) to meet with an employment lawyer first, before they talk to HR.” Therefore, rather than approaching HR with your grievances, you may want to contact a workplace attorney first with your complaints and evidence, before approaching HR. This is because, the HR is tasked with the responsibility of protecting the image of the company/organization. And in many cases, they would do just that, by trying to resolve issues which may end up not working out in your favor. If I had this information at that time, I should have done a better job at handling those long periods that I had to suffer in silence. Because, going to HR only worsened the problem, as I later realized that the HR was more on the side of the perpetrator, than on my side. The take away? Silence is no longer golden. You must speak up for yourself when someone is making your life a living hell, due to no fault of yours.And finally, I can not wrap this up without talking about 2 things I feel very strongly about- bullying and depression. Sometimes, life may deal us some tough blows, which may get us overwhelmed to the extent that we become victims of depression. At other times, a fellow human being may deliberately go out of their way to bully you, just to make your life a living hell. Are you experiencing those downtimes of your life and think that there is no way out? Are you pretending that all is well with you, when in fact all is not well? Are you living in fear of being criticized? Are you being bullied and have refused to speak to anyone about it? I wanted you to know also that silence is no longer golden. It is time to confide in someone and speak up for yourself. There are so many people around willing to lend you a shoulder to cry on, or help you out of that messy situation. All you need to do is to brave up the courage and reach out, and ask for help. There must be someone, somewhere that you can at least talk to. If you find that you have no one to talk to, then please feel free to drop me a line through my contact page, and I would gladly reach back out to you. You do not need to suffer in silence alone, and you do not need those evil bullies to make your life a living hell, for anytime longer than now. Summon up the courage to speak to someone who truly cares about you, and never be afraid of rejection. This is so because the world is changing, and people’s perceptions about issues like this are also changing along with it!
I hope you will muster the courage to speak up for yourself, and make that decision to quit suffering the pain and shame in silence alone. Your life is far more than that, and you are more valuable than what negative people and situations, may try to make you believe. You deserve the best life and should live one for yourself. Always remember that, “silence is no longer golden!” Speak up!
To your continued success. Cheers!!!