On Growing a Backbone

On Growing a Backbone in Life

Believing and standing up for something takes guts, courage and a backbone. I haven’t been great at that. I’m trying to mend this flaw.

I lack the unshakable conviction that’s often expected and required to make decisions.

I walk around, wondering. I straddle between choices. I spend too long choosing the right things. I avoid commitments. I mull over and sit on fences for too long.

In short, I already know how being indecisive has affected me. At the same time, I understand how filling this gap can help me create a more fulfilling life.

It starts somewhere

Growing up, I found it hard to trust my instincts. It felt easier to utter maybes instead of direct yeses or nos. I spoke softly because I didn’t want to offend people. I avoided taking sides when I was supposed to.

I just became … too neutral.

Plain and bland.  

But being neutral isn’t useful

Not much, I’ve learned.

Being neutral doesn’t have any noble purpose. It’s the default outcome that occurs when we deny taking a stand. A wimpy place to be at.

For instance, when I tried to please everyone, I became a blank placard. My individuality felt blurred. It became harder to define my ground – like, values, beliefs, and principles.

It might sound vague, but I’m trying to be more honest with myself through writing this post. Instead of pretending to be some smart lad, I’d rather be vulnerable, express what I struggle with, and move on.

Isn’t that how we grow anyway? By admitting who we are first, and then by rising from there.

It affects all of us, the lack of belief and conviction

We don’t trust ourselves but expect others to trust us. Simply because it’s easier to let others decide when we suck at making decisions.

When others approach us for the same reasons, we give spineless replies like ‘Yeah, maybe’ and ‘I don’t know’ as giving an opinion means being accountable. It’s a responsibility.

When we’re asked to make choices, we sit confusedly with our blank minds, wondering what to do, because we find it hard to evaluate anything.

Until we grow a backbone, we remain confused, do tons of things badly, and struggle to attain a sensible way of living.

So then, what can we do to fix this?

For now, we can plant our feet firm and begin somewhere

There’s no template.

There are no rules.

We can only discover what works for us and do it more often.

For example, I’d defend my ideas or ask for feedback when they’re questioned. Or I’d learn or do new tasks instead of completely relying on the help of my seniors.

I’d say what I mean during political conversations. I’d order sooner at restaurants. I’d complete tasks right away instead of piling them.

Deep within my heart, I’ll know what I’m doing.

It’ll take a while

Any change always does.

But even if it seems tough, I’d want to believe more in myself and the things that I do. I’d want to stand up for something. More importantly, I’d want to trust what molds me a person.

And I believe it begins with growing a backbone – that’s what helps when we stagger or when random waves of life stun us.