What we fight for is where we spend our time. It’s been a lifelong lesson for me, that age old quote to “pick your battles”. It’s true. My husband often describes me as “feisty” and it’s a word I’m proud of actually. I like to think that I’ve gotten better at picking my battles and for me that requires real, conscious thought.
Lately I feel like I’ve been fighting for things that I wish I didn’t have to. At the same time, I wonder if there are other battles I should be fighting, but have backed off of either because the progress is slow or because I’ve just become jaded. Today I’m reflecting on those battles I feel most strongly about. What do you fight for?
Fight for Family, Friends and True Love
Years ago, I never thought it would be necessary to fight for family. There used to be a time when things were less complicated, and I thought there would always be family. Slowly things changed; holiday gatherings got smaller and correspondence diminished. The web of relationships can certainly get ugly, especially when conversations continuously look backwards versus forwards. I know that for some people, severing those ties is their only option for sanity, but for me I see it as a true last option. Every time I want to give up the fight, I keep coming back to the notion that it’s simply impossible for me to give up on my family. And so I fight for it.
Some friends stay in your life forever and sometimes they are meant to pass through. I’ve found that even if things feel one-sided at times, it’s usually worth fighting for the friends that are true to the core. Being a woman without children (by choice), it’s easy to see friends move away, focus on other priorities and let friendships go to the wayside. But my life is richer because I have fought to keep my true friendships alive regardless of how life has created forks in the road where we go different ways.
And then there is true love. Personally, I’ve fought through a two and a half year long-distance relationship. This is nothing compared to those that fight through religious differences, racial differences and the examples go on and on. I’ve even seen my own parents fight through some dark times, who just celebrated their 40th anniversary. I guess my stance is that if it’s love, it’s worth the fight.
Fighting for family, friends and true love might be the most emotionally taxing, physically draining and time consuming. But isn’t it the most rewarding?
Fight for health
Whether you approach health as a preventative matter, as a means of survival or anything in between, it’s a fight that will always be worth it. I personally hate going to the gym. I count the minutes on the treadmill, I loath the commute…pretty much the whole process. But I fight because of the payoff either at the end of the workout, or someday when god forbid I’m laid up in a hospital bed fighting something serious. You know what they say…if you don’t have your health…
Fight for the moral compass
It’s so easy to walk away from situations where the timid are overlooked, the voiceless are ignored and the disadvantaged are taken advantage of. This could also mean something as simple as choosing kindness over inaction. It can be so easy to look the other way, especially in New York where you are basically trained to mind your own business as a means of survival. And in the business world, paying attention to moral compasses seems to be the exception rather than the rule. I long for the day when there are more voices that speak up, more people that take action as opposed to walking on by. In the meantime, I will keep working on paying attention to my compass and NOT minding my own business when the situation calls for it.
Fight for self worth
I think it’s apropos to end on fighting for ones self worth. Several years ago, when I was still relatively new to my organization, I worked for a guy whose approach to climbing the ladder was to do so at anyone’s expense. He was a bright guy for sure, but he also ranked very low on the social awareness scale. We were on a conference call and he was very demeaning to me. I went home that night fuming. IT WAS NOT OK. I resolved to address him straight on the following day. I didn’t deserve how I was treated, and I knew I needed to address the issue in hopes that it wouldn’t be repeated. I walked into his office and closed the door and calmly let him know I needed to speak to him. On this occasion, and each one that preceded and followed it, I never regretted standing up for myself. In a world where there are managers that have low self-awareness, lead through bullyism (and I use the word lead loosely here) and are rewarded more for the “what” than the “how”, it can be difficult to feel like you can and should stand up for yourself. I’m surprised at how frequently people accept being treated in a way that diminishes one’s own self worth. I highly recommend fighting for and defending your self worth, without apology. You will be stronger for it and I think you will be more well-respected when you approach the situation tactfully.
This post may sound pretty “feisty” indeed, and I’m ok with that. I only hope that I continue to make better choices in the “battles” I choose in life, in work and in my community.