I didn’t always speak my mind, especially when it came to problems with goods or services. I remember feeling as though I didn’t like confrontation. One time, at the age of 17 or 18 I received a horrible haircut, really short on the sides but long in the back. They had a name for it, but I don’t remember. I do recall that I didn’t say anything to the hairdresser about my unhappiness. I’m sure I smiled and said how much I liked it. I’m sure I felt the unhappiness for days.
I sit here trying to think of other incidents where I didn’t speak up for myself. There used to be many, but, for whatever reason, my mind draws a blank.
At my heaviest, I could barely fit in booths. Actually I found it quite painful but I’d sit in booths because the people I was with insisted on it. How could I explain my situation without shame?
I’m writing this now because the smallest of situations happened the other day, and I spoke up. I’d gone to get my hair cut and colored. After the stylist finished I went to the bathroom and that’s when I noticed one messed up spot, and I knew I had to say something or it would bug me. You might notice. My friends might not notice, but I would notice, but I had to figure out how to handle this with politeness.
Then it came to me. I walked out of the bathroom, went over to my stylist, and asked nicely, “do you see this messed up spot here?” She looked and saw it and offered to fix it then and there but my hair already looked so nice that I didn’t want her to fix the color spot then and there, so we agreed that I’d stop by after work this coming Thursday.
The example is a small one, but the bigger victories come from smaller ones. Build up to the big victories and they will last. That’s how we build a strong sense of self.
My friends always comment to me that I don’t have a problem returning things, and that’s true, but I built that up too. If I buy a product I expect it to fulfill its promise and if it doesn’t then I respect my time and money enough to return it. I once returned a pair of underwear that ripped the first time I wore it. I bought several pairs just like it and they lasted, so I knew the problem had to do with quality.
The last time I bought a car, I went into the dealer with my own financing and that saved me from so much of their BS. Plus I ended up with a better deal from them. There can be and are so many situations in life that present us with opportunities to shrink or rise and we can allow pebbles to annoy us or to serve as stepping stones to a happier life.
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