How you say it

You would think after all of the comments, critiques, and observations that have been made about how quiet I am, I would’ve changed by now. I would have spoken up and emboldened myself, decided to become more assertive and picked up the volume.

But it doesn’t feel natural and it’s not me and every time a supervisor tells me that I need to change these things, it hurts inside and I grow tired of trying to be that which I am not. I’m sorry that it takes extra effort for me to speak in Spanish because I haven’t kept up with it; I’m sorry that I’m not chipper enough, that I’m not firm enough, that I don’t have all the answers.

Sometimes it would be nice to hear that it’s good to have me around, and that my presence makes things better, but instead, I hear, “Fix this because things just aren’t working the way you are now”, and that’s hard.

It’s harder still because I know that there is truth in what is said and that the words are spoken in an effort to make things as good as they can be. I know growth is painful, but I also know that I’m painfully sensitive to critique. I guess the good thing is that I no longer physically run away from conflict, like I did when I was a child, but it still scares me and makes me want to hide in a safe place.

In accordance with the conflict resolution training from last month, I could say,

“I really value feeling appreciated and affirmed with the things that I am doing well. I value being spoken to gently and I value clear expectations for my role from the onset.”

Instead, I’ll recoil a little inside and nurse my wounds, knowing that this is necessary, and fighting it all the while. I need to know that you care about me as a person and not just as a worker. I need to know that you value me as a friend and not just as a teammate. I need to know that you love me, and not just because it’s your duty as a kind person living in this broken world.