Awesome Apprenticeship: May

We asked Courtney Ramirez to be our Awesome Apprentice; she’s taking the 52 Weeks to Awesome course and will be writing us a post at the end of each month to share her experiences with us.

Look how excited she is!

In this month in 52 Weeks to Awesome, I’ve been challenged to define my likes and dislikes, which I have to admit I’ve let slide and disappear into the background. Why? Well, we’re taught to fit it – to stay silent when it comes to our most important needs and desires (especially women).

Being silent is seen as being polite. You’re supposed to stay quiet for the sake of others – but in my experience that’s only set me up for feeling worse about my choices, decisions and preferences. And as I liberated myself through this month’s exercises, I realized that being “loud” actually makes you safer and more secure in your likes, dislikes and other preferences.

You see, when people don’t know who you are or what you stand for, they’re a lot more likely to insult you, sometimes without knowing it. Case in point, when we had our first baby we made the decision to have a home birth. But being in a very pro-OB circle of friends and acquaintances, we always stayed vague about our choice. I figured that it was my body, my baby’s health and our decision as a couple – and not anyone’s business.

But because I kept my decision silent, people felt free to bash those “crazy home birthers” in front of me. I heard more criticism of alternative birthing choices than I probably would have if I made my choice clear from the beginning. After someone would complain or criticize, I’d have to sheepishly say “Actually, we’re delivering at home…” and then endure their uncomfortable backpedaling and awkwardness between us.

So when #2 came around, I felt more confident in being open about our choice. With my old friends and acquaintances, I’d “proven” to them that it could be done. And with new people I met I made our choice clear – and heard much less bashing and criticism.

Same thing goes for our decision to homeschool. When we finally made the choice, and had to reveal it (when our oldest didn’t go to kindergarten this last fall) – I told people with confidence that we are homeschooling and that it works for us. If I knew them better, or if they were homeschoolers themselves, I made it clear that we are unschooling.

And voila – very few, if any, people criticized my decision. If they didn’t agree with me – they either never said anything to me directly, or they said it wouldn’t be their decision but wished me well.

Whenever I’ve been silent about my preferences, choices and decisions, I’ve opened myself up to indirect criticism. The kind that gets under your skin and hurts you where it matters most. And who needs that?

When you are clearer about your needs – people are less likely to trample on them.

You see, people (usually) don’t go out of their way to be insulting. Because of that whole polite/being quiet thing. So if you’re loud and bold with your choices, preferences and quirks, chances are no one is going to say anything. You open yourself up to more criticism when you’re silent – so speak up!

I’m starting to speak up more due to this month’s exercises. And the results have been outstanding!

Your turn – is there a time that you wish you’d stood up when you’ve kept silent? How would
being loud have helped you out?

Courtney Ramirez is a content, seo and marketing superhero consultant by day and geeky BBC sitcom watching mom and wife by night. When not developing carpal tunnel by writing for her clients or playing the Sims, she’s homeschooling two girls and toying around with the idea of starting a new blog. You can follow her on Twitter.

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