I really love the people that come up to me and say, “no.” The word “no” truly doesn’t seem like a big deal, and in many ways, it’s not. Occasionally its use is productive and quite healthy. However, in some cases, the word no is something I have a significant distaste for. I’m sure you have all gotten this simple word thrown at you a time or two in your life, perhaps in slightly different phrasing. Maybe the word was said in a more passive form or tossed around with the sharp taste discrimination lingering about. In whichever way you receive this annoying little word under the right circumstances, it can be quite underwhelming.
Being a woman, you get to hear this word quite a bit, and usually, the no is dictated by a white cis man who thinks that he knows what is best. Anyone who has faced this or any type of discrimination can understand and relate to how utterly infuriating it is to experience this and often will get to the point where there is one thought that crosses their mind. How do I prove them wrong?
Welcome to our Society
The society that exists around us is based on power in favor of the common stereotype listed above. If you need clarification, as long as you are white, male, straight, 30-50 years of age, able-bodied, sound of mind, and financially stable, you are considered superior. If you fit all of these categories, you will have fewer obstacles in your way than most people. If you don’t, then you are, hopefully, a part of the community that fights against the oppression experienced by those who do not perfectly fit in a whitewashed box. Those who do not fit in this whitewashed box, of course, get told all the ways in which they don’t in the hopes that they will be small. The problem here is most individuals have some type of disability or “flaw,” thus causing irregularities in an already broken system. It is at this point you might ask how we change. Change in many ways needs to be a joined and communal effort which, based on recent events, we are lightyears away from. Remember when you were a kid, and there was a problem, you would run to an adult to fix the problem? That adult would be the voice of calm and reason. The adults are nowhere to be found, so we are left to step up. The ones who were taught geometry in high school instead of how to do their taxes.
Becoming a Leader
In whatever situation you are in, there is no better way to react than to be a leader. Leadership seems like such a foreign concept nowadays. We don’t have many true leaders walking around being the strongest role models that we probably need more now than ever. Instead of waiting for the world to change by someone incredibly gifted at unity, the best way to prove them wrong is by becoming a leader yourself. In the difficult situations, the ones where you want to either scream or cry, you calmy point out facts, opinions, or possibilities. If you have something to say, absolutely say it. This does not mean cussing the person out who disagrees with you. A true leader will align their actions and words and respond with respect. Respect almost seems lost, but I think it is about time our generation brings it back.
Actions Instead of Words
When people tell you to know or say you can’t do it, the best way to prove them wrong is to show up the next day and say, “yes, I can, watch me.” It doesn’t matter where this is applied to. If you identify as gay and someone says you shouldn’t dress like that because it makes others uncomfortable. You are woman bodybuilding, and a man tells you to leave because you aren’t strong enough to be there. You are young, and your boss says you don’t have the experience to be in this position. Prove them all wrong by demanding their attention through your actions. You don’t need to yell or curse them out because then you are on their level. This process is not always done overnight. The actions are the part that matters. When your actions prove them all wrong, you know you have won.
What Does This Look Like?
Proving people wrong can be incredibly difficult, especially when they are backed by history and hate. It takes true courage and leadership to prove someone wrong in even a halfway respectful way. Like anything, practice makes perfect, and unfortunately, you will likely have a lot of practice within your life. Whenever we get triggered by something, we naturally go into reaction. This reaction is not always in your favor when you are trying to prove someone wrong. It is better to walk away from these situations and revisit them at a different time when you can present information or present actions more clearly. While this can be incredibly challenging to do at the moment, it shows that you have control of your emotions, and you won’t let somebody else control the outcomes of your emotions.
When you strive to prove someone wrong, you should really strive to channel your inner warrior. This person should feel empowered and unstoppable. While it is always amazing to prove someone wrong, you shouldn’t lose the warrior feeling even if you were defeated. Changing the opinions of those who “know they are right” is incredibly challenging. However, at this point, I’m not sure anyone truly knows what right and wrong are. If you do get the opportunity to prove someone wrong, put everything into it. Stand up for what you believe in and what you want to represent. Do so with respect and through your actions. Accept their challenge as a growth opportunity. Let them pick their jaws up off the floor while you walk away a better person.