Do you feel run over or treated badly by your friends, partner, or boss?
If so, then most likely it is time to start standing up for yourself.
The art of standing up for yourself can be a real challenge, especially when you might be facing people who have authority over you in some way.
However, standing up for yourself is a vital and important habit to implement if you truly want others to treat you with respect.
For introverts like myself, standing up for yourself takes a lot of practice and time. I realized I needed to do this more when I noticed an inner feeling of resentment would build up from the way some people were treating me.
That resentment is a sign that something needs to be dealt with. If not it can further build up, lead to heavier conflicts and in some cases can end badly, like the ending of a friendship, relationship, or a job.
This is why standing up for yourself in the right way can actually solve conflicts, make other people respect you and your boundaries, while also making you happier.
Standing up for yourself also means that people won’t push you over, won’t bully you, and won’t ask for anything that will cross your line.
So how do you stand up for yourself in a way that doesn’t cause conflict and frustration? In this article, we are going to dive into just that. Let’s get started.
1. Learn how to truly love yourself
In order to stand up for yourself, you need to know your self-worth, and you need to truly love yourself.
Obviously, you wouldn’t allow anyone you love to be bullied or to be taken advantage of, so why would you tolerate others to do that to you?
In order to truly stand up for yourself, you need to learn to love yourself and realize your value. Only when you have done this will you be able to sum up the true confidence and courage it takes to stand up for yourself.
Also if you don’t love yourself you will be more easily susceptible to self-sabotaging behaviors. These can include not being able to say no and not handling the situation when someone has crossed a boundary.
You can learn how to love yourself through many different exercises, but here are the ones I recommend down below.
– Journal – learn who you are and how valuable you are through journaling.
– Exercise – love yourself by taking care of your body
– Eat healthy foods – love yourself through fuelling with healthy foods
– Communicate honestly and specifically to people about how you are feeling
– Look into the mirror and say “I love you” to yourself until you really really feel that you love yourself (this is a tip that we discuss with Mathias Löfqkvist in more detail on this podcast episode)
By loving yourself, taking care of your needs, and respecting yourself, you signal to others that you are a person worth respecting, this will make the chances of needing to stand up for yourself small and so much easier when it happens.
2. Learn where your boundaries are
How can you stand up for yourself if you don’t know where your boundaries are or what you stand for?
The truth is, if someone gets away with crossing one of your boundaries, you have either not done a good enough job of defining your boundaries, or not communicated clearly enough when someone has crossed them.
This has happened to me several times, and many times it has been a direct result of me not knowing where my boundaries are.
For example, when working as a freelance filmmaker, there were many times I got taken advantage of where clients would ask for more unpaid work than was first agreed upon.
I would agree to do it, but would later feel frustrated because I wasn’t clear where my boundaries were, in this case where the boundaries of the work or my time were.
That is why it is so important to set clear boundaries not only in work but also in your personal life.
This doesn’t mean you need a contract for matters between personal relationships, it just means that once you have stated your boundaries things become so much easier.
It becomes easier to communicate your desires, what you don’t tolerate, and what you are willing to do for others.
Knowing your boundaries makes a vague line clear, which makes it easier to communicate with others, as well as taking responsibility for your own needs.
3. Practice standing up for yourself
When standing up for yourself, it is important to start small and work your way up. You don’t want to go from completely silent to lashing out at someone.
Begin by practicing communication skills that make you more assertive and make it easier for you to communicate what you want without looking like a jerk.
Use the “I” statement
A very common example of this is formulating what you feel with an “I” statement. For example instead of saying “You’re a d*ck head” you can instead say something like:
“I feel that you don’t respect my time.”
This is a better way of communicating what you feel because it takes away the “blame” of the other person, making it easier for them to understand what you are feeling and will help to resolve the situation.
Also, this is a more mature way of standing up for yourself as successfully standing up for yourself should end with the other person respecting your wants and desires, which is rarely the case if you call them an as*hole.
When starting to do this exercise, it’s better to start small and work your way up.
Begin by stating a small problem you feel needs to be resolved, and then decide when is the right time to bring it up.
Ask for what you want
Sometimes asking for what you really want can be challenging, especially because it can be a request that you initially feel is a hassle for the other person.
However asking for what you want rarely ends badly, and mostly ends with other people wanting to help you to get your needs met.
You would most likely be positively surprised how many people would like to help you if you openly and honestly expressed what you want, of course in a manner that respects the other person.
This could be anything from asking for a better table at a restaurant to asking your family members to help with chores, to asking your co-worker to help you with a workload.
Wishing that people would know from the beginning what you want is unreasonable and naive because everyone has their own stuff to deal with and people can’t read your mind.
The only solution is to take responsibility and ask, and most often the answer will be positive and you will get what you want.
Also, asking others for help creates trust between each other and makes other people feel important, which is mutually beneficial and will better the relationship, so the best of both worlds!
3. Be comfortable being uncomfortable
Standing up for yourself is uncomfortable and can often take the form of guilt.
For example, if your friends want to hang out but you don’t feel like it because you need some alone time, maybe your friends will try to guilt-trip you.
This feeling of guilt can result in you giving in and hanging out just because you want to avoid the feeling of guilt.
The trick here is to realize that this feeling of guilt isn’t real because in reality, you haven’t done anything wrong, you’ve just made your needs a priority.
Also standing up for yourself when you feel that someone is doing something wrong is also uncomfortable because in many ways you are venturing out into the unknown where you don’t know how others will react.
There are no easy ways out of this feeling, besides being comfortable with it and objective about it.
If you can accept the feeling of discomfort, and distance yourself from your emotions, you will have an easier time standing up for yourself.
And the only way to be comfortable with it is to expose yourself to it often and stand up for yourself in small ways every day, so go out there and create those small wins that make all the difference!
In summary, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to be willing to take 100% responsibility for your feelings.
If you are feeling frustrated that your boss treats you like crap, or your partner is taking advantage of you, or that your friends are draining your energy, then it is your responsibility to handle those situations.
Once you have taken responsibility, then you can move on and practice different practical methods for communicating your boundaries and standing up for yourself.
The best way to do this is by learning to love yourself, realize your boundaries, practice communication skills, and be comfortable with the fact that it will be uncomfortable.
After you have done these things people will begin to respect you more, you will feel more confident in yourself, and you will become a more integrated individual.
What do you think?
How would you stand up for yourself? Do you have any tips on other exercises that can be helpful?
We will continuously be updating this article with new and great information, if you want to contribute with your ideas and tips, please share them in the comments down below and we’ll get a discussion going!
Otherwise, I wish you all the best and good luck!
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