When I was young, “cry uncle” was an expression I heard from time-to-time. I didn’t understand it and, thankfully, was never at the mercy of someone who taunted me to say it. Thinking about why, and when, we choose to “give up the fight”, the idiom came back to me.
“Cry Uncle!” is a command issued from a bully.
It’s a sign of submission.
It’s saying “I give up”.
There have been times in my life when I’ve cried “uncle”. It wasn’t because someone was holding me down or beating me up—although I’ve felt “beaten up” more times than I like to remember. Sometimes it was awareness—after much mental gymnastics—that what I thought was best just wasn’t the case. Other times it was because I knew that, in spite of how I felt, it was more important to “take one for the team” than honor what I wanted to do. Sadly, there have been a few times when I’ve given up only because the price I would have paid was just too high.
For too many people, giving up and giving in is a way of life.
There are all kinds of bullies in this world and most of them don’t look at all like the “big kids” on school playgrounds, but they wield tremendous power.
They know it and they sometimes abuse it.
They look like loving spouses, supportive friends, children who respect their parents, and parents who claim to have their kids’ best interests at heart.
They look like polished professionals and they look like “the average Joe”.
They look sophisticated and they look down-to-earth.
They look like they’re well-off and they look like they’re struggling.
They look dangerous and they look harmless.
They look like you and me.
Of course, some of the bullying—the abuse (let’s call it what it is)—is evident in wounds that can been seen. More often, however, there are no apparent physical signs. Some of the manipulation is so subtle, and so cleverly cloaked in “this is what’s best for you” that you eventually “buy in”, and push away what you know, deep down, is wrong. Sometimes the person who’s pressuring you to give up what you know is right seems so wonderful to the “outside world” that you just might appear a bit crazy, if you reach out for help. Some of it is so calculated, and slow-growing, that eventually it becomes a way of life—a “way of lie”.
Once you “cry uncle”, you change.
You begin to not trust yourself.
You may think that you’re weak.
You play the part of loved and lifted up, but know that your true voice is not heard.
You believe that you don’t matter.
You give up the desire to “be brave”, because taking that chance is far too risky.
We, too, hurt others by having them “cry uncle”. We harm and destroy spirits because we think that we know what’s “right”.
We extinguish hope because we believe another doesn’t know what’s best.
To whom have you said, “give it up, you’re not worth it”?
Who have you told to surrender?
I started this post one morning before I left for my grandson, Ethan’s, “Writer’s Showcase”. His teacher had put together a slideshow from their school year. In the background, the song “Brave”, by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, played. It was not a coincidence that I chose to write about this subject the same day I would sit in a classroom, on a tiny chair, watching my loving, smart and brave grandson stare down at me from a screen while these words played:
“say, what you want to say
and let the words fall out
i want to see you be brave”
We sometimes give up because we’re afraid of judgment, persecution, pain, abandonment or loneliness.
Who has said, ”you don’t matter—you must surrender”, without uttering a word?
It takes tremendous courage to keep fighting for yourself.
It takes belief in your value, as a child of God, to stay the course, to be brave.
You deserve that. I know it.
©2015 peace full home™/intentional living