I picked the fight, and here I am. All alone and left to my own devices to fight it to the end. I did not expect a walk in the park but standing here always makes me feel delivered in the face of extreme uncertainty.
Almost like I did something wrong, although I know it is actually the exact opposite. It took almost 2 years of trying the amicable route of asking, explaining and appealing to a sense of responsibility, until I did not.
Standing up for what is right requires courage, but it is a decision that only you can make, especially because one never knows how it will turn out in the end. Freedom sometimes lies in the process it entails, that gives you time to come to grips with the raw details of what you are up against and the time of working through it can be healing in itself. My particular issue required a process over months in maintenance court, fighting a run-away dad that would leave no stone unturned to be relieved of the responsibility to look after his children. I spend what felt like endless days in a dust, stale courtroom, and I hated every second.
Every appearance had me feeling like this, I wanted to run. I felt insecure and even scared. I just wanted to make it stop and let it go. But I knew I had to see it through.
So I decided to do it differently. To trust my voice. I wanted to find a calm deep within me reassuring me about my journey. I did not want to contemplate outcomes, possible unfairness and lies or a ridiculous delay. It was not my business what the next steps were and I did not want to think about the challenges I still needed to overcome in this hollow process. It did not always work out this way and I did not always have a cool head, but I took it one step at a time until it was done. It took courage to show up and stand tall, but in the end – regardless of the outcome – I honoured myself and the ones I was fighting for and that was worth more than the outcome itself.
Knowing when to stand up and fight and when to leave is a difficult but an important question to answer. And it not straight-cut. Leaving is always easier and sometimes it’s just not worth trying to fight a dying cause. Other times it is a bit more complicated and staying to fight is the better choice for various reasons:
- Getting through disagreements in a positive constructive manner is always a better outcome. Is the issue you are dealing with important at the moment, and will it remain important going forward? Then it is worthy to sort out. If the outcome will create a benchmark, set necessary boundaries and mean you are taking a stand for what is right and just, you should absolutely do it.
- Weighing up costs versus gain. Does it really make sense to fight when the gains are minimal? Consider your pride versus time and energy invested and the impact of the outcome. Winning a battle at the expense of your own sanity or the stress that it brings may sometimes not be worth it after all.
Knowing your reasons for taking a stand, and understanding the impact thereof are important steps. To go through with it might take all of your strength but when one made the decision to go ahead and you are clear about your reasons, the battle is easier to endure.
Deciding to take a stand to find your voice takes courage. If you can identify with any of the below points, it might be time to take a deep breath and stand up for yourself:
- The issue that you are dealing with now is influential in more than one way and will set the course for years to come
- You are taking a stand to set necessary boundaries, or to protect yourself
- The end result will be more valuable and lasting than the cost to get there
- If you look back at this decision in years to come it will still be easy to see that it was the right choice
- You would have insisted on what’s right – not what is expected
- The outcome would serve justice and give you a sense of self worth
I think most of us prefer non-confrontational scenarios and that is how it should be.
It is however a completely different story when non-confrontational means you are being short-changed, disrespected or devalued. Remember that we teach people how to treat us by what we allow. Constructive and open conversations always amounts to more than silence, or the harbouring of grudges but when it is truly time to take a stand, you should do so.
In the end my court case did not really serve justice, but that is okay. I do not think justice was really sought. I did however take a truthful stand. I was brave and displayed courage and that alone was worth it a thousand times over.
I think this might have been the lesson that took me the longest to learn. To have the courage to stand up for myself, although letting go would have been easier every time.