Standing up for yourself can be difficult. For all the smack I talk when I write, in person I avoid confrontation like the plague because I’m so unsure about how to go about standing up for myself and what I want. Even when you’re confident in yourself, knowing how to be assertive without being confrontation can take some practice or at least some advice, so here are 8 things you need to know.
1. Understand What It Means to Be Assertive
Many people do not really understand what it means to be assertive. They think that asserting themselves means they should act aggressive. Truthfully, to properly assert yourself, you simply have to be truthful and confident but still polite. You firmly assert your opinions without being rude, but neither do you let anyone walk all over you. Once you understand what being assertive means, then you are ready to be assertive.
2. Trust in Yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself, what you’re saying, or in your opinions, you can’t expect anyone else to believe in those things. Trust in what you’re saying and doing. Whether you’re standing up to a friend, approaching a colleague, or meeting with your boss, have faith in your message and your beliefs.
3. Go in with a Good Attitude
Attitude is everything when it comes to standing up for yourself. The person you’re talking to will respond to the right attitude. You should be positive without being fake or forced, but not eager to please. Being willing to compromise is one thing, but you can’t go into a situation feeling like you’ll be willing to do anything to make someone else happy, even if it means sacrificing what’s best for you.
4. Stand up for Other People Too
Sometimes, it’s easier to stand up for other people first. I know that’s the case for me: I do better stepping up to the plate for someone else, especially the people I love and respect. Getting used to doing this can help you learn the tools you need to begin standing up for yourself as well.
5. Be Strong Physically and Emotionally
Quite often, being physically stronger can help you gain confidence. I don’t mean you should go out and become a gym rat or start strength training, but staying healthy and active, making sure you feel good physically, and having energy can bleed into your emotional life.
6. Don’t Be Passive-aggressive
Passive-aggression should be the enemy of everyone on earth. It rarely does anyone any good. It might feel like it works, but it really doesn’t. In fact, you will ultimately feel resentful and angry, which can easily turn inward or be focused outward in an unhealthy and unhelpful way. If you are under the impression that someone “makes” you feel angry or taken advantage of, realize that you are in control of your emotions. No one can make you feel any way if you have the strength to fight it.
7. Trust Your Own Instincts
This ties in with trusting yourself. More often than you might think, the best thing you can do is act on your first instinct. If someone seems like bad news to you, trust that feeling and realize that it might be better to cut them out of your life as much as possible.
8. Be Verbal
If someone puts you down, absolutely defend yourself – with your words. There are distinct differences between constructive criticisms and insults. If someone says they dislike something you’ve said, if they think it’s wrong and give you a reason, you can perhaps turn that into a positive. If someone says you’re stupid because of something you’ve said or an opinion you hold, point out that their words are hurtful, untrue, and unfair, without getting nasty yourself. Answering harsh criticism with firmness, confidence, and politeness will typically throw your detractors for a loop.
These are just some of the things you can do that will help you stand up for yourself. Confidence, cordiality, and strength are key components. How do you stand up for yourself? What do you do when someone calls you names or insults you?
Top Photo Credit: pam.ela