I have encountered many troublesome people in my life –– people who take advantage of my kindness, who underestimate my abilities, and who use me because they know that I will stay silent.

I always assume that staying silent is better than yelling or confronting someone, as it saves energy, prevents the issue from exploding, and allows me to move past the issue; however, I am coming to realize that while being silent can be peaceful, the anger that I have forced myself to internalize is slowly consuming me.

I would not say that I am a “pushover” or that I do not know how to voice my opinion.

Many of my friends and family would joke about how loud or brutally honest I can be. But for some reason, I am able to be so loud and honest only when I know for a fact that it cannot hurt me; and confronting a bad friend or a rude stranger is incredibly, incredibly scary.

No one likes drama –– while it seems like some people do, starting drama never genuinely makes anyone happy. I choose to stay silent all the time because I make every attempt in my life to avoid as much drama as possible. I exit rooms that have a tense energy, I walk away from someone when I can sense that they’re in a bad mood, and I try to hold back from saying triggering and controversial opinions.

In my attempts to avoid drama, however, I have, throughout my life, allowed certain people to walk all over my back for months.

I have allowed them to feel so powerful that they can gossip about me, insult me, and control me. I have forced myself to be submissive in the eyes of those who want to seem big, but are not. And while I allowed them to do as they please, I still treated them with the utmost respect. I still gave them attention, tried my best to be a positive influence in their lives, and attempted to rekindle the broken friendships –– all while never confronting how much they’ve hurt me. But from this experience, I learned that I can no longer be silent.

I can no longer hold back from confronting someone in the fears of hurting their feelings. I can no longer give harmful people respect in hopes that my respect for them will prevent them from hurting me. And I can no longer force myself to bottle up my real emotions, my real thoughts.

Us who prefer to stay silent and peaceful hold power over our lives.

We have the ability to tell someone to stop, to tell someone that they’re being rude, and to confront something that has been bothering us. We have the same opportunity to be honest as we grant to everyone else.

We cannot keep forcing ourselves to be submissive and victimized under other people’s opinions. We cannot keep being fearful of the backlash of our true, genuine thoughts. We cannot keep giving power to everyone else to determine how we should view ourselves and how others should view us.

While certain things still may not deserve my energy, I need to teach myself how to determine which issues I should worry about, and allow myself to take immediate control over them. I still intend to stay relatively drama-free and peaceful, but if someone in my life is not committed to those same values, then I will need to assert my voice and dismiss them.

Just because I choose to be silent and peaceful does not make me weak, it just makes me over-considerate about others’ feelings.

My whole life, I have been more worried about hurting someone else than allowing that person to hurt me. Certain people in my life have shown me too many times that they do not deserve to be in my life, and instead of giving them infinite chances, I will just let them leave. I will allow negative energy to exit my life instead of continuously clinging to them.

To everyone that I have left in 2017 –– just know that your energy is not needed around here. My thoughts and opinions are valid, and I am no longer afraid to voice them.