Every day we make dozens of small decisions that either benefit us by pushing our ideas through or belittle ourselves because we hesitate to make our views or wishes known.
Sometimes it seems easier to go with the flow to avoid potential conflict. But the truth is that leaving people everywhere can increase feelings of stress and anxiety, and it could eventually decrease your self-esteem and play with your insecurities.
Learning to stand up for yourself can help you take your life into your own hands, believe in your own strength, and encourage you to reach for your dreams. The stronger you feel, the stronger you get.
Learn to stand up for yourself in any situation with these 10 simple but powerful steps.
1. Practice being transparent and authentic.
It may be difficult at times, but as you learn to express yourself openly and honestly it will feel like a load has been lifted from your shoulders. So often we hide behind a half-hearted smile and nod instead of saying what we think. It takes practice, but learning to be authentic and open with what you feel or think is the first step. Once you get into the habit of making your voice heard without being overly forthcoming or defensive, people will be more open to you.
2. Take small but powerful steps.
If you’re struggling to be assertive, start taking small steps to stand up for yourself. Even learning to walk more confidently – head held high, shoulders back – will help you appear and feel more confident. Channel this trust in your dealings with others. This attitude can apply to all areas of your life. Do you annoy the person who cut before you at Starbucks? Politely ask her to go back. Do you see an unfair charge on an invoice from one of your service providers? Call and deny it.
3. If someone attacks, wait and see.
As you become more confident about expressing yourself, you must also learn to face those you want to override. There will always be people whose personality is set to attack mode. It’s important to stay calm but confident when you feel like someone is trying to bully you. Do not let yourself get tired or react with low blows. Don’t bother about them or be intimidated by them. Go down the main street but hold on.
4. Find out what is really bothering you.
Going with the flow so as not to make waves actually creates more stress and anxiety for you. Of course, having the courage to face something or someone that is bothering you can be scary. But when you face the problem, you can do better and reduce the control it has over you. Remember that people cannot read your mind; If you don’t say what’s bothering you, no one will know.
5. Clarify first without attacking.
It is tempting to take a self-righteous stand, especially when you are sure you are right. In your view, you are right to defend yourself against someone who appears to be completely wrong. But it’s important to resist the urge to react with emotions. Instead, take a deep breath and calmly explain your perspective to them. Avoid belligerent tones or accusatory words. Explain exactly what you mean and listen to their answer. Only then can a real discussion begin.
6. Practice makes perfect.
Once you know what it means to stand up for yourself, it is time to practice asking for what you want as often as possible. If someone says something you openly disagree with, or if you feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do, say something. Research has shown that it takes 66 days to develop a new habit. So stick with the new assertiveness for two months and you will be surprised by the results.
7. Be aware.
Here’s a situation that many of us have found ourselves in: sharing the room with a messy coworker or a roommate who’s a slut. You might have been silent while you grew more angry about the situation. It might be tempting to slip into passive-aggressive behavior, such as: B. angry cleaning up the mess or making derogatory comments. Instead, try to be conscious. Tell the person how you are feeling without being reproachful. Be open about your concerns. Move on to a simple suggestion that can correct the situation, such as, “If you can take a minute to clean up your room at night, that would help a lot.”
8. Stand up for your time.
Time is a precious and finite commodity, and yet when given the opportunity to say no, we often feel pressured to give it away. There are times when you may not have a choice, such as when your boss says a project is high priority. But don’t let commitments dictate how you spend the hours of your day. You are in control of your time. Push back when appropriate, or tactfully detach yourself from the people or situations that undermine your schedule.
9. Realize that no one can devalue you.
You are in full control of your feelings and actions. Your beliefs, emotions, thoughts and ideas are yours and no one else can tell you how you are feeling or invalidate your opinions. Likewise, in attempting to invalidate other people’s points of view, you are sabotaging any opportunity for problem-solving or open discussion.
10. Fake it until you get it.
Learning to stand up for yourself won’t happen overnight. It takes time to get used to being assertive. While you are in the learning phase, it can be helpful to imagine that you are an actor learning to play a new role.
Imagine you are the most confident person you know. How would you react in a difficult situation? There may be times when you move from being overly eager to being indecisive. Standing up for yourself is like cycling: at some point you will find the right balance.
This article was published in April 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and timeliness.
Photo by Kinga / Shutterstock
Deep Patel is a serial entrepreneur, marketer, and best-selling author of A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success. Patel has been recognized by Forbes as a top 25 marketing influencer and has worked with VC-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He is also a contributor to Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, and Forbes.