If not now, then when?
Recently, I've been trying to make time to respond and comment online, about issues I really care about.
It's not something that comes naturally to me.
Actually, that's not completely true - it comes naturally to me to have a strong opinion about things, to have something to say. But actually saying it - well, that is not so easy. I got to the point where I was so fed up of
- spending ten minutes carving out the perfect response, the right words, not too much or too little, so as not to bore people,
- then another oh - anywhere between 30 minutes, to a week or so - reading it, re-reading it, checking six times for mistakes,
- thinking about who might read it, and how it might offend them, and whether I was prepared for any backlash or misunderstanding that might come from my intended response,
- and whether I had considered my comments from all possible angles.
- Sometimes I'd even go off down the rabbit hole doing research, to be open-minded about my opinion, and make sure I had my facts straight.
..that eventually, as you've probably guessed by now - I'd backspace delete every. single. word.
Oh, the energy, time and effort I have put in to these scenarios over the years of online existence. And where does it end up? Nowhere - except in the back of my mind, a distant 'meant to', gone in a puff of overwhelm and fear.
Then comes the guilt. The guilt at knowing I really could and should speak up. The annoyance at myself for not being brave enough. The sadness at the life I'm wasting (yep - I go all the way to there - every time!)
So I'm trying this as a new mantra -
If not now, then when?
Every time I don't speak up, am I holding back the very improvement I'm trying to create?
Will I get to the end of my life and say Oh, I'm so glad I didn't waste my time or embarrass myself, by speaking up for things I believed in? (eh, no!)
Do I want to get to the end of my life and think - Wow, I'm so proud of the fact that I chose to be authentically and unapologetically ME? (em, yes!)
I believe that authenticity breeds contentment!
Look, it's not easy, and I'm not saying that even I will be able to do it overnight, but I want to know I'm doing what I believe in, rather than what will keep everyone happy. Because, shocker...! - I don't agree with 'everyone'.. I think there are some people who have agendas and intents that are not healthy for longevity, our people, our planet, our happiness.
Will I sit back and not have an opinion?
Well, what would you tell me to do?
What would I tell others to do, if they were passionate about that 'something', and wanted to make a change or have a say in the outcome?
I'd tell you to
- be courageous,
- remember what the end goal is,
- ask yourself whether your point of view is important in the conversation.
And ask how you will feel if you
- say nothing,
- stay quiet, and
- watch and wait for someone else to hopefully speak up and say the right thing.
You may feel as though your voice is too quiet, but if you have something to say, and it's important to you, then maybe the cause you are speaking for is greater than the fear...