Every day, we make dozens of small decisions that either benefit us by expressing our ideas or detract from us because we are hesitant to express our opinions or desires. To avoid potential conflict, it may appear to be easier to go with the flow. Relax and enjoy as we explore how to stand up for yourself in the relationship below.
However, allowing others to walk all over you can lead to increased tension and worry, as well as a decrease in your sense of self-worth and play into your fears.
Learning to advocate for yourself can empower you to take control of your life, believe in your own strength, and pursue your goals. The more powerful you feel, the more powerful you will become.
How to Stand Up for Yourself
With these 10 simple yet effective methods, you’ll be able to stand up for yourself in any situation.
1. Make an effort to be open and honest.
Although it may be challenging at times, learning to express oneself openly and honestly will feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Instead of saying what we really believe, we often hide behind a half-hearted smile and a nod. It takes time and experience, but the first step is to learn to be honest and open about your feelings and thoughts. People will be more open to hearing you after you develop the habit of making yourself heard without being unduly accommodating or defensive.
2. Take little, but significant, steps.
If you’re having trouble being assertive, start simply by standing up for yourself. Even learning to walk more confidently with your head held high and shoulders back will help you appear and feel more confident. When dealing with people, use that self-assurance. This mindset can be used in any aspect of your life.
3. If someone attacks, wait for them to go.
You’ll have to learn to deal with individuals who try to overrule you as your confidence in expressing yourself grows. There will always be people with personalities that are pre-programmed to attack. If you believe someone is trying to bully you, it’s critical that you remain calm but assertive. Allowing yourself to become flustered or reacting with low blows is not a good idea.
4. Figure out what’s troubling you the most.
Going with the flow in order to avoid causing waves really causes you greater tension and worry. Naturally, summoning the guts to confront something or someone who is upsetting you might be frightening. However, confronting the problem will empower you to improve it and reduce the influence it has over you. People can’t read your mind, therefore if you don’t say what’s on your mind, no one will know.
5. Prioritize clarification over assault.
It’s easy to assume a self-righteous stance, especially if you’re certain you’re correct. From your perspective, you are rightfully protecting yourself against someone who appears to be completely wrong. However, it’s critical to avoid the desire to react emotionally. Instead, take a deep breath and communicate your point of view to them politely. Avoid using confrontational or accusing language. Clarify your meaning and pay attention to their response. Then and only then can a genuine debate begin.
6. As they say, practice makes perfect.
It’s time to practice asking for what you want as often as possible once you’ve gotten the hang of what it takes to stand up for yourself. Say something if someone says anything you openly disagree with, or if you feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do. According to research, it takes 66 days to create a new habit, so commit to the new assertiveness for two months and see what happens.
7. Take your time.
Many of us have been in this situation: sharing space with a slobby coworker or roommate. You may have remained silent as your frustration with the situation grew. It’s easy to fall into passive-aggressive conduct, such as cleaning up the mess angrily or making snarky remarks. Instead, try being deliberate.
8. Take a stand for your time.
Even though time is a valuable and finite resource, we frequently feel compelled to give it away when we have the ability to say no. You may not have a choice in some situations, such as when your employer declares a project to be of high priority. But don’t allow your duties to define how you spend your time. You have complete control over your schedule. When it’s appropriate, push back or politely disengage from people or situations that take up too much of your time.
9. Recognize that no one has the authority to invalidate you.
You have complete control over your emotions and behaviors. Your feelings, emotions, thoughts, and ideas are yours alone, and no one else has the authority to tell you how you feel or invalidate your viewpoints. Similarly, if you try to disprove other people’s points of view, you’re undermining any opportunity of addressing a problem or having an open dialogue.
10. Pretend to be someone you’re not until you’re actually someone you’re not.
It takes time to develop the ability to advocate for yourself. It takes time to become confident in your assertiveness. Furthermore, it may be helpful to visualize yourself as an actor learning a new role when you are in the learning stage.
How to stand up for yourself without being rude
Standing up for what you need while respecting the rights of others is what assertiveness entails. It’s a fine line to walk between being confident and direct without coming across as a complete jerk. And it’s a talent you can pick up quickly with these three basic tactics for standing up for yourself without being unpleasant.
Tip 1: When speaking, avoid using “qualifiers.”
Words that weaken the impact of your message by apologizing or downplaying what you’re saying. Here’s an example of a message with a lot of qualifiers:
“Please accept my sincere apologies. That’s something I’m not sure I agree with. But it’s possible that it’s just me, or that I’m missing something.”
Tip 2: Put your assertiveness statements to the test.
A formula for constructing an assertiveness statement exists, and it consists of three parts:
- What you want them to do differently
- What impact does this behavior have on you?
- How you’re feeling as a result of it
“When you don’t call on me during a meeting, I never get an opportunity to speak, and I feel excluded,” she says. Another example: “I have to wait when you are late, and I get upset.”
Tip 3: It’s reaffirming why you’re right in being assertive in the first place.
Being aggressive might be challenging for those of us who are shy, timid, or indirect in our communication. We might think about doing it, then back down – or only go halfway because it’s so uncomfortable. But keep in mind that assertiveness is perfectly acceptable. You have requirements. Make a stand for them.
How to stand up for yourself without crying
You’re not alone if you want to stand up for yourself but can’t stop the tears. When sobbing becomes a big barrier to expressing yourself, it may be extremely difficult and frustrating, especially when you know what you have to say is valid and necessary.
Regardless, we hope that you’ll be able to use some of the advice we’ve provided to stand up for yourself and get the respect you deserve.
1. Take a few deep breaths.
Deep breathing triggers the body’s natural relaxing reaction. You’re probably stressed and overwhelmed if you feel like you’re on the edge of sobbing. A short but efficient approach to decrease tension and stress is to take a deep breath. You’re sending a message to your brain to calm down by taking deep breaths—your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration will all decrease. Because you’ll feel more relaxed and grounded, you’ll be able to speak up for yourself without sobbing.
2. Speak clearly and forcefully.
Another approach to keep oneself from crying is to make a conscious effort. Instead of droning on and on, say what you need to say and then wait for the other person to answer. Even if you have a lot to say, you’ll be able to do so in due time—but if you allow yourself to become overwhelmed by your annoyance and melancholy at the same time, you may find yourself crying.
3. Use short methods to keep the tears at bay.
You can use certain methods if the encounter is unexpected or catches you off guard. Some of these techniques are more physical in nature, while others are more mental in nature. They can help you cool down emotionally by temporarily diverting your attention away from the issue. Try one of these strategies the next time you feel like you’re going to cry when sticking up for yourself:
- Press your tongue on your mouth’s roof.
- Pinch the skin between your thumb and pointer finger using your thumb and pointer finger.
- Try to come up with rhyming words.
- Count backwards in 7s from 100.
4. If you need more time to relax, postpone the discussion.
If the situation permits, consider rescheduling the meeting for a later date. You’ll have more time to calm down and think about what you’re going to say, instead of feeling rushed or overwhelmed by the circumstance.
5. Before the confrontation, cry.
Allowing yourself to express your feelings upfront can help you avoid sobbing later. If you know the contact will take place in the future rather than right now, you can try letting yourself cry ahead of time to process your feelings. After you’ve dealt with your emotions, you’ll be more likely to remain calm later.
6. Recognize and accept your fear or worry.
You may be crying because you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiousness. It’s possible that you’re both expecting and dreading it. Even if you want to stand up for yourself, it’s difficult to get away from that—but fighting it could make things worse. Worry is very normal, so take a minute to acknowledge it before speaking, as this may assist to alleviate rather than exacerbate the anxiety.
How to stand up for yourself in a relationship
You must first decide to identify the problem before you can begin to fight for your rights. The first step in resolving an issue is to recognize it. When it comes to preventing this behavior, identifying the patterns that appear when you begin to bend over during a conflict is critical. So, in a relationship, how do you stand up for yourself?
Here are a few pointers to help you in a relationship stand up for yourself.
1. Speak up for yourself.
It is critical to advocate for yourself and express yourself verbally. When you wish to change the nature of your relationship, you should use words as a tool for standing up for yourself.
2. Keep your eyes on the prize.
Change is difficult. You may find yourself automatically struggling to return to your prior thought and activity patterns, so you don’t have to leave the comfort of the familiar for some time.
3. Have faith in yourself.
Breaking out of a toxic box is a wonderful thing to do, even if it’s difficult to stand up for yourself and challenge prevailing standards. Being brave and confronting the situation demonstrates that your days as a doormat are coming to an end.
4. Improve your self-confidence.
It’s critical to develop a feeling of self-worth and establish an identity outside the partnership. You can confront circumstances that make you uncomfortable when your sense of self-worth isn’t bound to the relationship.
5. Use your words with purpose.
When speaking, use enunciation. Also, use language that will effectively communicate your message. Let go of your preconceptions. Make it clear what you want to achieve.
6. Don’t be the giver all the time.
Although selflessness is a virtue that is frequently lauded, being unselfish without concern for one’s own interests leads to being exploited. Make a list of your priorities. Ascertain that the feelings are shared.
7. Set limits and stick to them.
Boundaries are necessary for any relationship to keep it interesting and joyful. Set and keep to boundaries for what you consider unbreakable rules. Practice saying no and consider prioritizing your own self-worth, but not in a selfish way.
It’s easy to get back into the habit of bending down for others, and that’s fine as long as you don’t do it again. Every day, practice sticking up for yourself. Do something, even if it’s a modest gesture. Every day, remind yourself that you are powerful by looking in the mirror.
Listen carefully and try to understand where the other person is coming from, so you can gain the advantage. You must pay close attention to what you hear back from the individual with whom you are conversing.
Books on how to stand up for yourself
- Boundary Boss: The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen, and (Finally) Live Free by Terri Cole | Apr 20, 2022.
- Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, and Unapologetically Being Yourself by Dr. Aziz Gazipura PsyD and The Center for Social Confidence.
- Speak Up: A Young Adult’s Guide to Engage in Difficult Conversation, Address Conflict, and Earn Respect by Jared Peters | Sep 17, 2021.
- Assert Yourself: How to Stand up for Yourself by Helen Mayhew | Feb 26, 2014
- The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) Part of: A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook (115 Books) | by Randy J. Paterson | Dec 30, 2000.
Related articles: DO I HAVE ANGER ISSUES? Test, Causes, & How to Manage Effectively
- Assertiveness: How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Win the Respect of Others by Judy Murphy | Nov 21, 2011
- Assertiveness Training: How to Stand Up for Yourself, Boost Your Confidence, and Improve Assertive Communication Skills by Chase Hill and Dave Thackara.
- 33 LIFE-CHANGING HABITS TO MASTERING THE POWER OF SAYING NO!: A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Gain Courage And Stand-Up For Yourself, Without Feeling Guilty! Part of: 33 Life-Changing Habits (6 books) | by Michael A. Logan | Mar 29, 2021.
- Dragon and The Bully: Teach Your Dragon How To Deal With The Bully. A Cute Children Story To Teach Kids About Dealing with Bullying in Schools. (My Dragon Books) Book 5 of 52: My Dragon Books | by Steve Herman | Mar 5, 2018.
- Assertiveness Training: 10 Simple Steps How to Become an Assertive Leader, Stand Up, Speak up, and Take Control of Your Life by Luke Caldwell | Jul 19, 2018.
Consider yourself to be the most forceful person you know. What would they do if they were faced with a difficult situation? You might go from being extremely zealous to being overly indecisive at times. Learning to stand up for yourself is similar to learning to ride a bike: you will eventually find the perfect balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it so hard to stand up for yourself?
If it’s tough for you to speak out for yourself, you’re probably out of touch with your own needs – and unduly sensitive to those of others. When this happens, you leave yourself vulnerable to being used.
Why do people hate it when you stand up for yourself?
It suggests they don’t like it when you’re brave and assertive about your boundaries. It’s a regular occurrence for people to believe they can walk over you and pity you. The finest thing that can happen to you is to stand up for yourself because it means that no one can play with you.