Speak up even if it means you stand out

Belle Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

In a world with over seven billion people, a country with over 330 million people, a town with over ten thousand people, and a school with over 700 people, it can be hard to find your own voice — especially when using your voice opens the door to either appreciation or criticism.

When you speak up, you stand out. This may be the hardest part of being open about who we authentically are. The thought in the back of our heads is, “What if I stand up for my beliefs, and someone doesn’t like what I have to say?”
However, I’m urging you to ask yourself, “What if I stand up for my beliefs, and someone values what I have to say?”
Our words, thoughts, virtues, and ethics make us who we are. I am not you, and you are not me. No two people are the same; therefore, no two people will consistently have all the same views and opinions.
It’s human nature to fulfill the need to be liked by everyone. Yet, the harsh reality is that if everyone is their authentic selves, not everyone will like you because we all see things differently.
And that’s okay.
It’s completely normal to seek positive interactions with our peers. Wanting your parents to feel proud and having things in common with your friends or significant others makes us happier.
As much as we strive for positive interactions, the negative ones are inevitable.
It’s easy to avoid these disagreements because it puts a relationship at risk. However, you’ll never lose a friend, family member, or loved one who truly respects you simply for being who you are. Those who you do lose aren’t valuable commodities to have in your life.
They are merely spectators.
Standing up for yourself or simply adding in a comment to a conversation takes courage. However, it’s an essential part of being true to yourself. To be true to yourself, you have to be proud of who you are and what you believe in.
No matter what anyone thinks.
I know that it’s easier said than done to have that level of confidence.
However, words are powerful.
Words can be life-altering. We have to use them wisely, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them at all.
In high school, it’s easy to get wrapped up in caring about what everyone thinks of you. It seems like all eyes are on what your next move will be. Sometimes it can be so nerve-wracking that we choose to avoid speaking our truths.
My advice would be to speak even when you’re scared.
Even when all eyes are on your next move.
Even when your voice shakes.
Maybe people will be taken off guard at first, and it may even invoke some discourse. Confrontation always seems to carry a poor notion. It’s wired in our brains to avoid it at all costs.
However, the famous philosopher Plato once said, “Silence gives consent.”
By being silent, you are directly affecting yourself and others more than if you would’ve just used your voice. This is because you have to deal with a guilty conscience knowing that you sat back and didn’t stand up for what you believe in. You didn’t follow what you morally knew was right.
No one wants to feel that way.
It’s often a freedom we take for granted that we as citizens get to use our voice so freely. Our voice is what keeps us true to ourselves and cleans our soul.
It’s also empowering to know you are making an impact by adding your opinion to value the common good of society.
Speaking up could mean something as simple as saying where you want to go to eat.
Speaking up could also be as powerful as standing up against large-scale tyranny.
Do you want to be the bystander, silent as your peers are being chastised? Or will you be the upstander who stands behind the persecuted?
Make your every word count. Our voice is our greatest superpower.