Time and time again, I find that it pays to speak my mind. My mom has always said “speak the truth and shame the devil.” I cannot tell you how many times ‘fessing up to things has ended up being the best case scenario for whatever that thing was. I’ve had several encounters over the past couple of days that had me thinking about my approach to things and how much I’ve changed since I was a teenager a.k.a. in college. In my mind, I have some issues with asserting myself and more often than not, I find myself in situations where I heartily regret the course of action that I took & wished that I was a little more assertive/forceful/forthcoming. I also have some issues with trusting my opinion which sounds foreign, but it’s true. An example of that would be my first instinct in any situations that call for assertiveness or expression of some opinion (usually contrarian) would be to jump out there and express myself. However, what I usually end up doing is just being passively present. This constant battle of the two selves within me sometimes ends up leaving a nasty taste in my mouth and what I’m writing about concerns me shedding that cloak. On the bus home (couple of days ago), I was faced with an admittedly trivial situation where I could either slink off to the back of the bus or sit in the front which is my favourite spot. My dilemma was this: there was a guy occupying 3 chairs. Do I avoid “conflict” and find the next open spot or do I ask/take what is “mine”? Well, contrary to the voice that was screaming “move on”, I irritatedly asked the man “do you mind?” in that tone of voice that brooks no dissent. lol. I wasn’t a total rude woman to him, but I made it clear that I was taking my rightful spot and I felt good about that. In fact, it uplifted my spirits to be appropriately assertive. The next example of the “new” me happened a couple of minutes ago. I was pretty much alone on the bus and at a stop, 2 people hopped on. Where did they sit? Right behind me. I instinctively bristled and started fuming about why on earth did they have to crowd my space. The old Jane would have quietly steamed about the “injustice” of it all, but after a couple of tiring seconds stewing about it, I did something about it: I switched seats. I didn’t pay any attention to the voice in my head saying that they would be “upset” at me for switching seats. They could very well have cared less, but the point of this is I had a problem and took matters into my hand. I hope to hang on to this and keep exploring those deeper areas of myself.