‘It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.’ – WC Fields
I’m being more careful about the conversations I will entertain.
Ever been called out of your name or assigned a nickname you weren’t too comfortable with? Ever felt like you were being insulted, taunted or slighted by someone and felt like you just HAD to get a word in or say something in response to demand their respect?
Think about this – Respond for what? Were they really talking to you?
“The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” – Exodus 14:14
Over the years I’ve struggled with something I’d been taught – Be polite and answer when you’re spoken to. So, I’d answer the phone, respond to texts and give a polite giggle even when I didn’t feel comfortable responding.
I have a friend who would tell me not to answer the phone when someone I didn’t want to talk to called. I just wasn’t comfortable doing that. ‘It’s just not polite.’
Not too long ago, a man who had been showing interest in me started texting me using the term, “Sweetie.” That nickname makes my skin crawl. I feel like it’s demeaning. So, I checked myself just to make sure I wasn’t being too sensitive and looked it up in the Urban Dictionary.
Sweetie: something derogatory that horny gross men call girls when they hoot and holler at them.
So I ignored his texts. They are not for me.
There have been other situations and times when I’ve been having a conversation with a man and it suddenly went left. He started talking about sex, or my body, or sent a picture or joke that I felt was inappropriate. Just because he “tried it” doesn’t mean I have to own it by participating. At these times, I realize I have a choice – to engage by responding or ignore them like they weren’t talking to me.
I set my price tag, the price of admission into my life, so it’s up to me to set the standard for how I’m approached and spoken to. I have a choice of which conversations to entertain.
People give me conflicting opinions on this subject by the actions they choose. I’ve seen people argue with, call out or use passive responses through social media. How do I discern what to respond to and what to ignore? Why am I responding?
Well what would the author and finisher of our faith do? Jesus was good at discerning what to say and when, and to whom to say it. Jesus knew who and whose he was, so he could confidently ignore those who tried to get a rise out of him or trick him into engaging them when it wasn’t necessary. He also knew what they were about. There were times when he did not respond because of the audience.
Jesus said – “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6) He knew when a response just wasn’t worth it. Responding to some folks will cause you more harm, especially when they’ve already formed their opinion or idea of you. They’ll only use your response as fuel for their own agenda; which may be to destroy you or your reputation.
I’ve even been attacked for not being the person someone decided I was supposed to be in their head, but that’s a blog post for another day. I think I’ll call it, “I’m not her.” LOL!
Often the need to respond is tied to the need for validation. I’ve had to ask myself whose “stamp of approval” am I seeking, and why?
Know your worth. I’m learning that when I respond to what I feel is disrespectful, I’m inviting more disrespect. I don’t need to respond because I know who I am and whose I am.
I will no longer allow myself to be demeaned by “owning” words or behavior towards me that lower my price. I will no longer demean myself by giggling uncomfortably at dirty jokes or risqué comments.
If what they call me does not fit me or my value, they weren’t talking to me.
My Father told me: “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.” (Song of Solomon 4:7) Anything that makes me feel less than a child of the Most High God is unacceptable. No need to be polite when you’re not being spoken to. Loving me and receiving the love my Father has for me. He’s the only one I need to impress. I’m choosing my battles wisely, and recognizing that most aren’t even mine to fight. He’s got me.
Go out and enjoy your day! And never forget who and whose you are. ❤