How Are You Supposed To Get What You Want If You Don’t Ask For It?

I was riding the train into work this morning and saw a random, everyday 20-something riding along with her headphones on, staring out the window in total morning oblivion. All of a sudden, this rather large fellow commuter with an oversized backpack sits down next to her. Now when I say “oversized,” I truly mean it was one of those backpacks that look like no human should be carrying it around for the sake of their back health and safety. He just about knocks Oblivion in the face and then proceeds to sit, backpack facing her all up in her personal space (that space I know we all take seriously on public transportation, because heaven knows personal space in the morning is a real struggle). What does she do next? She stares! She gives him a few dirty looks (after his back is turned, of course) and proceeds to roll her eyes for the extent of the train ride.

This is just one very small example of being pissed about what happens and doing nothing to make any changes. In what world does it make sense to sit in dismay as life passes by? Not mine, fellow humans. This is not to say there haven’t been times where I just watched the world go by, looking at it angrily. There have been those times. Many of those times, in fact. But what did I learn from those? That those times suck. That I feel powerless when I let time pass by like that while I am sitting on my ass watching from the sidelines. I wouldn’t be able to say I worked by butt off if I was just watching the days pass. Life is about taking part in the action, right? It’s about doing something different to get better, different results.

It’s scary though. I am not denying that. It is terrifying to stand up for what you want or for changes you believe in. Having people on your side helps, but when it comes down to it, it is damn scary either way. It doesn’t have to be a huge deal, it can be as minuscule as almost getting sideswiped by a backpack on the train. We still need to stand up for ourselves.

A lot of this is, I believe, about knowing our own worth. What do we deserve? I have many strong humans in my life who have pushed me along, constantly encouraging me to reevaluate how I look at myself and how I want others to see me. I distinctly remember being terrified to ask for a raise I knew I deserved. I knew it more than anyone could know anything. I asked and I backed up my ask in so many ways. They denied me that raise. In fact, they basically looked through me and willed me to give up (I swear). I walked away. Do you know how that felt? Really terrible. I didn’t fight for myself. How do we expect anyone to fight for us if we can’t defend our own worth? You better believe the next time that opportunity came around I fought like hell for myself and I did get the raise I deserved.

Mind you, I know this is not always even an option in life. Sometimes the option for more or different or better is nil, but it is about expressing your right to demand more. Somewhere in life we all became a bunch of pushovers scared to rock the boat. We forget we are all human. We all have bills to pay, mouths to feed, loans to pay back. We all have crappy days and we all have had someone invade our space. We know what not-so-great looks like and feels like. What does it hurt to ask? People will either get it and understand you are protecting your worth and your integrity or they won’t. And if they don’t, you probably don’t want to be around, sit by, work for or have anything to do with that sorry sap anyway. Basically, readers, I am telling you how important it is to wake up and understand you are not here to be pissed off every damn day. You are here to live your life, be in control of your life and play an active part in how your journey unfolds. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Erin Kelly

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