Written to the song: Moderation — Florence and the Machine

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” — Winston Churchill

Tarifa, Spain.

While sitting at a Tim Hortons waiting for a friend, I pulled out my computer to work on another blog post. Suddenly the group of teenagers behind me start hysterically laughing and insulting each other by yelling statements like, “you have Parkinson’s”, “you have breast cancer”, “you have leukaemia”, etc. Everyone sitting at the Tim’s started to look around, feeling uncomfortable and not saying a thing. As the table was sitting right behind me, I turned around and simply asked why they think those statements are funny. While the table looked at me in silence, I continued to tell them about how other people around actually have experienced those illnesses and reminded them to watch their words and be mindful of their surroundings. They apologized, sat in silence for a few minutes, got up and left. My hands were absolutely shaking — but why?

In the past few weeks I have had numerous conversations with people about being in uncomfortable situations while dealing with people who have strong opposing political views, people who make sexist remarks, or people who make general controversial statements in casual day-to-day situations. These conversations have got me consistently thinking about the importance of standing up, conquering fear to do so and some strategies on how to stay calm, collected and articulate.

  1. Don’t be aggressive — yelling and anger usually leads to thinking emotionally and sensitively rather than being clear-headed and articulate. Make sure that you are in the right state of mind and try to stay calm and collected.

From my personal experiences, you definitely cannot change the world and alter everyone’s opinions. If you’re like me and have felt guilty after walking away from a situation without standing up for yourself, then challenge yourself to do so when the next situation arises. It is not easy to stand-up and challenge people, but some people have never had their opinions challenged and don’t see any issues with what they are saying. You can never predict what will happen next, but the least you can do is bring awareness and shed light on the importance of using our words thoughtfully. The words we use creates the world that we live in.

Author of “Q & A a Day for Travelers”. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-frenkel/

Author of “Q & A a Day for Travelers”. https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-frenkel/