Thursday, December 8, 2011

Do Nice Girls Finish Last?

This post is rather personal. It's about finding my voice.

I was raised to be a "nice girl". Don't make waves. Don't be demanding. Don't be pushy. Be polite. Be deferential. I don't think my parents did me a favor by raising me this way. It may have worked back in the 1950s but it sure doesn't work now.

In the world of work, the people who get ahead are the ones who "blow their own horns". It seems the one who speaks the loudest is the one to whom people listen. I have a tendency to think about my answer when someone asks me a question. That doesn't work. People don't wait for an answer; they move on to someone more glib. I am often interrupted, I think because I speak quietly.

My father was stern and authoritarian. My mom taught me how she dealt with him. "Just listen to what he says and nod your head, then go and do what you want." No wonder I became passive-aggressive. I was never encouraged to "find my own voice". Rather than speak my piece I keep quiet. That leads to anger. I either hold the anger in or I take it as long as I can then overreact. There have been times when others are surprised at my sudden outburst. Other times, good friends have looked at me and cheered, saying something like "you go, girl" or "it's about time!". Not surprisingly, I cherish these friends. They encourage me to come out of my shell and express my feelings.

When I lived in Philadelphia I attended a Bible study class. Discussions were often dominated by those who were louder and more assertive. There were times when I was trying to make a point and was talked over. One particular friend supported me. He would rap on the table to get everyone's attention and announce "Judy has something to say". I loved that friend for doing that. Now I need to learn to do that for myself.


Natalie said...

Yes. I agree, and I hear you, loud and clear. Furthermore you have given me some insight into my own issues. I am one of those volcanoes no one seems to notice... until my steam suddenly erupts, making a noisy mess! Maybe my own blog helps me with this, because in person I am quiet, quiet, quiet. Strange thing is only people I don't *know* pay any attention to CB, and the people who know me (or think they do) pay hardly any attention at all... maybe they prefer the quieter version...

judy in ky said...

Natalie, I love that you understand. If you have gained any insight from my words, that makes me happy. Not many people I know read my blog either. They either are not computer literate or are into Facebook and Twitter. I enjoy your blog tremendously; for a quiet, quiet, quiet person you are a great communicator. I know that I communicate better in writing than in speech. My best friends are people who take the time to listen when I do speak.