Do you find yourself asserting your ideas or diminishing yourself because you hesitate in making your views or desires known? Sometimes it seems more natural to go with the flow to avoid a potential conflict. However, letting people walk all over you increases your stress and anxiety. Over time, it can reduce your feelings of self-worth, confidence, and increase insecurities.
When you practice standing up for yourself, it helps you take charge of your life, believe in your own power, and encourage you to follow your dreams. The more empowered you feel, the more confident and self-empowered you will become.
Here are 6 powerful ways to stop being taken advantage of and stand for yourself:
- Practice being transparent and authentic. It might feel awkward and challenging at times, but practicing ways to express yourself openly and honestly will feel empowering and like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Instead of hiding behind a half-hearted smile or just nodding instead of saying what you think, put what you are feeling and thinking out there for others to hear.
2. Muster the courage to figure out what’s really bothering you. When you go with the flow in order to feel safe or not make waves, this can create more stress and anxiety for you. Facing the issue and taking a stand requires looking at what’s bothering you. This empowers you to take steps toward taking control, rather than abdicating it. No one can read your mind if you don’t express what’s going on with you.
3. Set your boundaries and recognize that no one can take advantage of you. Courageously decide your boundaries by naming your limits. You can’t set personal boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand. So, tune in to your feelings, be direct, practice self-awareness, and make your self-care a priority. If you find yourself wavering, seek support from someone you trust. No one else can tell you what you feel or invalidate your opinions.
4. If a person tries to demean, attack, or shame you, wait it out. As you grow more confident in expressing yourself, you’ll learn to face those who want to override you or take advantage of your nature. When this happens, and if you feel like someone is trying to bully you, it’s essential to remain calm and assertive. When you feel a reaction coming on, tell yourself not to become frazzled, defensive, or snarky. Keep your cool and don’t bend to their demands or allow them to browbeat you. Take the high road and stand your ground.
5. Clarify first, without attacking. While practicing standing up for yourself, it can be tempting to take a self-righteous position. This happens when you feel sure you are right, justifiably defending yourself against someone bullying you or seems to be entirely in the wrong. This is a familiar feeling when you are standing your ground. Still, it’s essential to resist the urge to emotionally react. Instead, take a breath and calmly ask a question to clarify the other’s point of view. This gives you time to think. Then, explain your perspective, avoiding combative tones or accusatory words. Clarify what you mean and listen thoroughly to their response. This creates the foundation for an authentic and respectful discussion.
6. Practice makes habits, so fake it ’till you make it. Learning to stand up for yourself won’t happen overnight. It takes time to grow comfortable with being assertive. Imagine that you are an actor learning to play a new role and that you are the most confident and assertive person you know. How would that person handle herself in a difficult situation? While you are trying out new behaviors, there might be times when you swing from zealousness to indecisive. Keep on the path by making your stand for yourself a commitment. Practicing is like riding a bike; eventually, you will find the right balance.