The Power of a Backbone
Never underestimate the power of a backbone. Some of us have one. We walk around proudly speaking our mind to anyone who will hear us. Some of us don’t have one. I fall into this category. I’m softer than a July ice cream cone in south Alabama. If we are good friends and I know you’re still going to love me after I tick you off with whatever it is I think you need to know, I can muster up a little bit of courage to let something profound roll off my tongue. Even then, whatever it is never comes directly from my backbone, it’s probably coming directly from my funny bone or from some other worthless body part.
The problem with being a walking cone of gooey, soft ice cream is that eventually you’ll become the ground that ice cream is going to drop on and people will walk right on over you and not bat an eye. Not because they’re hateful or want to hurt you really, but because they can. If I give my 3-year old an inch, she’s taking the whole marathon. If I let someone take advantage once, I’m the one who set the standard, not the other way around.
You’re looking at the poster child for doormats everywhere. I hate that the only person I can tell off with more sass and courage than any of the Real Housewives is my husband. As I’m rattling off jarbled, don’t you cross me rhetoric, I know he’s standing there going, “What the he** just happened?” When I’m finished, I blow the smoke off of the verbal gun I just unloaded and go on my merry way feeling pretty hardcore. Truth be told, he probably doesn’t deserve all the lashings I hand out, but he’s always getting a taste of what I imagine delivering to someone else more deserving.
When there’s no backbone in place to hold your brain on tight, the signals that are supposed to tell you when to shut up or speak up get lost in transit. When you’re about to get taken advantage of, used and abused, overridden, or all of the above, you should have an internal alarm that says, “Warning, you’re about to enter push over territory,” but if you’re not sitting up tall with firmly planted resolve, chances are your alarm is broken.
Or if you’re like me, the alarm is there, you just frequently hit snooze. You’re so afraid of causing conflict with someone that you run at the first sign of a potential showdown. You simply agree, acquiesce, and wipe the sweat off your brow saying, “whew, that was a close one.”
I have no clue what my aversion to conflict is. I run from conflict like I run from a southern cockroach- hysterical, dramatic, and pretty convinced the world is about to end. I have no clue why I expect so much of myself, but don’t hold other, equally capable people to the same standard. Last, I have no clue why I don’t just give the husband treatment to someone other than my husband occasionally. I’m sure he would appreciate it if I would share the love every once in a while.
We have to get comfortable with everything we’re uncomfortable with. Such as no. I don’t have time for that. My plate is full. And on the occasion someone crosses the line, we have to get comfortable with letting them know they’ve made us uncomfortable.
There’s nothing wrong with soft. Soft is good. Soft sets us apart and keeps us human. But we can’t be so soft we melt into nothing.
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