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Stand up for your rights

This time in history is a strong opportunity to stand up for our rights. Let's feel more confident to speak up and feel more liberated.

Standing up for rights and truth

Embracing Diversity

All of us, from any gender or background, can enrich our lives by standing up for ourselves. I'm glad for a new global feminist movement. Discrimination happens to many types of people. There is still misunderstanding about young people, minorities and 'disabilities' such as Aspergers. The list goes on. Business owners may experience injustice, whether through discrimination or otherwise. We should all feel liberated to discover the best life.

Truth Over Image

In most of my adult life, I didn't see myself as an activist or politically outspoken. Mentors with good intentions taught me to keep skeletons in the closet and maintain and image. Although personal branding is good, silence during struggle should not be the cost of branding. I was convinced that speaking up just wasn't an option. We can gain more opportunities when sharing the truth in the right context.

Hope for Good

There used to be a cost of doing the right thing. Maybe there still is. We can hope that, in this changing climate, we can influence positive change more than in the past. I once became a 'whistleblower' at an organisation. Someone had published dishonest content. Other stuff happened that didn't seem right. I ended up 'let go' from the role after my whistleblowing. Unfair consequences may still happen. But there are more opportunities now speak up with confidence.

Changing After Silence

I did sometimes stay silent about injustices. My silence was normally because of an 'image to uphold.' That was not the right reason. When silence wins, someone loses. We can maintain positive upstanding whilst also being vocal.

Business owners must be vocal and find compassion. Find peaceful assertive ways to communicate the truth. Treat people like human beings. And make sure you and others are treated with respect too.

I personally believe in finding constructive solutions to injustice. If someone rips you off, tell the authorities. Don't ignore it. I'm not a lawyer but have opinions about getting ethical results. About half a year ago, a small business owner charged an amount of money that was not agreed in any terms or conditions. I told the bank and Fair Trading. If I had stayed silent, that individual would have got away with theft. Whether you're a business owner or a customer, feel confident to have your needs and rights met.

Respectfully Disagree

My top priority is to use constructive words and get results. I have a clear structure for emails of 'complaint.' This might look wordy, but a few sections will get all the information into one place. It shouldn't leave any gaps.

Firstly, say what happened. It provides context so the recipient has all the facts. That keyword of "facts" is important. I try to remember quotes, actions and times. What did the person actually do and say? I steer clear of generalisations or subjective labels. "You were nasty to me," really doesn't say what happened. I acknowledge when a story is recalled only to the best of my memory. If I truly was unwell, that revelation can show my vulnerability.

Then I say the impact of specific unethical treatment. Maybe an event results in psychological, emotional or physical harm. Any talk of damage is from a lay person's understanding here. I'm not approaching this from legal expertise. This is how I handle things as a normal person. But why not... I have at times identified signs of anxiety that I experienced after others' wrongdoing. There could be physical consequences from an overall situation - headaches, stomach pains or dizziness. Of course, there are also direct physical impacts. I once slipped on a Kmart glass scale because a splash of water was on it. That fall resulted in a nasty broken leg. Whatever the impact is, I like to clearly say who is worse off and in what way.

I prefer moving right along to what I want to gain after a complaint. Sometimes, a basic "sorry" can change the world. I have learned to actually say that I want an apology. Some people just don't think about apologising - it just doesn't occur to them. There might be a solution in the future. A few months ago, I requested inclusion from a couple of people. The solution was obvious to me - opportunities to participate. Sometimes we do want a refund or even official procedures. I like to know what I want and how it can happen. Otherwise, any complaint is just 'venting.' It's only constructive and moving forward if there's a next step.

There we have it. That's my own personal structure for writing a complaint email. It's just a little DIY format. My top rule for complaining is this: only raise big serious concerns on important occasions. Maybe some people raise alarm bells on a regular basis. That's their choice. I won't oppose regular voicing of problems. But I hope to avoid 'crying wolf.' If I'm normally fine, then any scattered grievances get more attention.

We're All Navigating New Dialogue

People have diverse ways to voice their concerns. Options include peaceful protest on the streets, writing on social media and official complaints in formal processes. That's just a few. The only right way to speak out is the peaceful honest way. Wherever you say the truth, however you find your voice, speak with honesty and respect.

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