There is a line. A very fine, faint, line. Between avoiding confrontation and not giving a damn about your existence. They say we think, therefore we exist. That may be so, but if we spend all our time thinking to ourselves, where are we existing? Are we living, or are we existing in some delusional dimension of the imagination? We live in a world rooted in narcissism, where everybody is fighting for a voice. There are 7 billion of us, social, interdependent, yet also wrapped up in some sick, unspoken cycle of competition.
When all is said and done, life is one big screaming match, and the people who scream the loudest and the longest are the winners. Everybody’s shouting and you have to, too. You have to think aloud to be heard. You have to stand up for your voice, or it will be silenced by the rest. It won’t happen immediately. Or intentionally. But stop shouting, stop giving a damn for just long enough–in a world where speech is lifeblood–and your lack of talking becomes stillness and everyone knows that stillness is second to death.
So don’t die, please. Speak. Because the alternative leaves you short of a sad existence because you’re not even existing at all. And once you stop speaking it’s really hard to start again.
If you’re anything like me, the initial stages of not giving a damn disguise themselves as disliking confrontation. Among friends, at parties, in large discussions, you’ll begin to feel tired. Tired of fighting for your turn to speak. Like what you have to say is just not worth the effort. Being with people becomes more arduous than enjoyable. So eventually you think to yourself, why bother? And you do just that. You stop bothering.
When you stop bothering to speak, you also stop bothering to listen. You stop evolving. You become still. And when everyone’s mouths around you are moving, constantly, your tightlipped-ness makes you the odd one out. Your silence fuels itself, creating a wall that grows with time. And just like that, before you know it–because life moves really fast sometimes or most times actually–you’ve become disconnected from everyone. You start existing in your head and not in the world and I’m nobody to say there’s anything wrong with being an introvert but introspect without substance and life experience to draw upon only gets you so far.
Life is too short and your voice is too valuable for your life to be anything but full and your voice mute. Speech is risk-free currency, save for your reputation.
But that’s the beautiful thing about speech. You get to choose your speech. You get to craft your reputation. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Speak often, speak loudly. And eventually, you’ll find a voice that won’t have to fight to be heard.
When you speak, you affirm. You confront. You exist.
Don’t validate your not giving a damn with disliking confrontation. Don’t accept being background noise. Give a damn.
Don’t grant the 7 billion other voices the satisfaction of having one less voice to shout over. Because when you shout with them, together, you harmonize. You ignite dialogue, and that’s pretty great. Because in a world where speaking is currency, when you exchange speech, you get richer in life and in love and in intellect.
Confrontation doesn’t have to be destructive and dialogue never hurt no one. My advice to you is this. Confront life. Confront people. Confront yourself. Each and every day and don’t you dare think about giving up. Your voice is too important to be lost.
Find something worth shouting about. It’s okay if you haven’t found it yet, but make the effort to look within and around you and the rest will flow from there. Connect with yourself, with your life, and with others. Give a damn, because existing with purpose and passion is absolutely worth it.