You are faced with dozens of choices every day, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Your decisions can benefit you, or they can diminish you. When you stand up for yourself and you assert your ideas, your decisions will be more beneficial.
When you hesitate or stand down and don't communicate your ideas, your decisions can diminish you. Not standing up for yourself can really impact your self-esteem and make you feel weak. No one should ever be a doormat.
It is easier to avoid conflict and go with the flow. But is it truly easier when it means allowing others to treat you like a doormat? Letting everyone walk all over you will only fuel feelings of anxiety and stress. It will also negatively impact your self-worth. Take charge, believe in yourself, and start standing up for your best interests. Here's how.
1. Be Transparent, Be Authentic
When you choose to be transparent you learn to express yourself more honestly. When you get to this point, you will feel as though the burden from your shoulders has been lifted. Don't get this confused with the brutal honesty movement where people go out of their way to be jerks. This is more about saying how you really feel, rather than nodding and smiling when you're uncomfortable or unhappy. It's going to take practice, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.
2. Take Small, Consistent Steps If you struggle with assertiveness, then you can help yourself by taking small steps consistently. Put your shoulders back, hold your head up high and make a forward movement. Your confidence will grow with every step you take, and you can channel that into each step you take thereafter. With each step you take focus on the feelings. How does it feel to stand tall; how does it feel to stand up for yourself? Let these feelings motivate you to keep going.
3. Wait Before You Attack The more confident you grow in expressing yourself, the more people will try to challenge you. People want to test you; some are just built like that. So, you have to learn how to deal with those types of people, which means to wait before you attack someone back for attacking you.
Remain calm if you are under attack but assert yourself. If you respond immediately, you will likely lose your temper and lose the high ground. Instead, take a moment before you respond. Do not cede ground, no matter how hard they try to browbeat you into submission.
4. Get to the Root
You must face up to things. You might think going with the flow is more comfortable, but it's creating anxiety and stress within you every time you miss an opportunity to stand up for yourself. Nobody can read your mind; you need to get to the root of why you feel the way you do and articulate that to others. It's the only way anything will ever change.
5. Clarify Before You Attack
Just like you need to wait before you launch an attack, you also need some clarity. This is something that often comes up when there's a miscommunication in texts or emails. It's notoriously difficult to convey tone.
So, before you attack, be sure that you have the right end of the stick. Get that clarity before you form your response. Moreover, any type of response should be formulated once your emotions have had a moment to simmer. When you do formulate your response, you can be firm without being combative or using accusatory words.
6. Practice When you start getting the hang of standing up for yourself, the best thing you can do is keep practicing! As with anything, the more you do it the more comfortable you will become, and the better you will be at it. Don't be afraid to speak up when someone is being rude. Stand up for yourself and stand up to others.
7. Act Deliberately Have you ever been in a position where someone is doing something that bothers you, but rather than speaking up you have silently stewed? You reach a point where passive-aggression seems like a great idea. As tempting as it is, choose deliberate action instead. Approach the person and explain, without being accusatory, how you feel. Be upfront with your concerns and come armed with solutions.
8. Guard Your Time You only have so much time, but you may feel under pressure to give that time away. For example, when someone wants a favor that you don't have the time or energy for, but you feel under pressure to do it for them anyway. You can't let the feeling of obligation dictate how you use your time. You are the person who controls your time, and you have to know how and when to tactfully push back when it's appropriate.
9. You Hold the Power You own your actions. You own your feelings. Your emotions, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs are all yours. Nobody can invalidate your feelings unless you let them. Nobody can tell you what to think unless you let them. That goes both ways, you shouldn't seek to invalidate others either. But you hold your own power so, don't give it away.
10. View the Other Perspective When you stand up to someone, you might look inward. But there's power in seeing someone else's perspective. What is their motive, what do they desire, what needs are they trying to fill, what led them to this position?
Answer those questions and consider how that has colored your brushes with them. Remember, there is more than one side to every story, and you should consider all of them.
Your voice matters! It is important to use your voice throughout your life because who will stand up for you, if not you? Don’t let people walk all over you. Don’t be a doormat. Be true to yourself in the most fundamental way possible!