Last week someone at work ate my lunch. They took my lunch from the freezer, put it in the microwave, ate it, and threw the evidence in the kitchen’s garbage. At first I thought maybe I was extra sleepy that morning and accidentally put my delicious crust-less pot pie in the fridge. Nope, sitting right at the top of the trash was the container. Plain sight, not trying to hide it at all. Didn’t need to throw it in their more private office waste bin, away from one of the other 40 colleagues whom that lunch could have belonged to. No shame. I decided that I would take a little walk around the offices, look in on everyone, see if anyone is eating MY lunch. As I took the last turn before returning back to the kitchen, I realized I wasn’t going to accomplish anything. Especially if I found the lunch thief. I couldn’t confront them. If I saw them mid-bite, I wouldn’t be able to muster up my natural passive-aggressive “Oooh that looks like a good pot pie. Wish I had a pot pie for lunch.” Not happening, I’d be too embarrassed. I’d feel awkward. What kind of response would I expect if I did put my foot down and let the pot pie pickpocket know that they were stuffing their dumb face with MY lunch? One would hope they’d be apologetic, ashamed maybe, offer to replace it for you. With that reaction how could I be upset? I’d act very nonchalant and tell them it’s no problem, not a big deal, forget about it. Classic move on my part. I’d like to think it’s just that good ol’ Minnesota Nice coming through. Being nice and polite is one thing, but not standing up for yourself is another.
Despite what should be a very small and insignificant moment in time for an adult woman, the lunch larcenist is helping me grow. There are countless situations in a day where I can be more confident and say what’s on my mind. Overall this is something I do really struggle with. When someone says or does something that I disagree with I don’t usually speak up. I might be that passive aggressive person or say a small something later. But probably a long while later, and just to a friend, who has no connection to the original person at all. Certain reactions on my part equate to how I will feel I’m being interpreted and usually it’s thinking the worst. If I complain, voice concern, or have a disagreement I imagine that by me sharing that people will think that I’m a bitch, overly sensitive, or don’t know what I’m talking about. No matter what the actual reaction might be I usually jump to them thinking less of me than they did before because of my views. Not cool. I have no real reason for feeling that way. I’m not aware of a specific time in my 30 year history where it’s definitely happened. There is nothing wrong with my way of thinking, my feelings, or my needs. If someone does not agree or align with me, that is not something to be insecure about or to judge. I can speak my mind, share my story, and voice my needs without comment or criticism. Everyone has different experiences in life that make them who they are. All are valuable. I have mine. You have yours.
Confidence doesn’t rid us of all our pieces vulnerable to hurt and insecurity. It’s not a magic trait that erases all the worries and fears we have. It’s a difficult balance, an effort is made to care or not care about certain comments and statements. I will reiterate to me my self-worth. I do not need to be ashamed of anything. I will tell myself over and over that I am proud of what I have accomplished. I am strong, I can do whatever I want. I am smart and I am worth more than I give myself credit for. I will work everyday to be positive and confident in the person I’ve become. I can make my feelings, opinion, and needs matter. Because they do. And yours do too.