Break the Silence

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself. ~ Harvey Fierstein

I’m an advocate, it’s what I do. Each individual has had a unique situation happen in their life that has caused them to be the person they are; and even if their situation is not unique, it’s a matter of perspective. Since there are different circumstances an individual brings to life, it is easy to see how some individuals feel inferior to others to the point they are silenced.

Education seems to be a silencer yet the definition of education should allow all individuals to speak. According to Dictionary.com education is:

1) the process of giving or receiving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university

2) information about or training in a specific field or subject

3) an enlightening experience

With the definition of education, it is clear that there are multiple ways an individual can become educated. One way involves formal education such as a High School Diploma, Associates Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, Ph.D., or certifications. Another way is what is commonly referred to as “school of hard knocks”, which basically means education from life experiences. The question is not who is more educated, but what determines who is more educated.

Another silencer is self. While the word is easy to read and easy to understand, it is actually difficult to define and accept. Self involves: self-esteem, self-awareness, self-efficacy, and self-respect. These might all seem like the same thing but they are different:

1) Self-Esteem is an individual’s overall judgement of himself or herself pertaining to self-competence and self-worth based on reality (National Association of Self-Esteem)

2) Self-Awareness is conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires (Dictionary.com)

3) Self-Efficacy defined by Albert Bandura is our belief about our ability to succeed in a certain situation.

4) Self-Respect is showing dignity and integrity of who you are

Regardless of how an individual gains their education, formal or from life, they should not be silenced. Interactions with others [family, friends, spouse, colleagues, or acquaintances] should never allow self to be made a victim. Know your worth, understand your emotions and seek your desires, take confidence in your abilities and build on them, and do so with your head high because you are a unique individual and have walked a path that has created you to be the person you are. Do not let anyone define who you are or where you are going in life. Empower yourself through knowledge, both formal and life experiences and break the silence.