Standing up for yourself can improve your happiness, well-being and relationships. It’s important to express your thoughts, opinions and feelings clearly and respectfully because this will allow you to set and maintain personal boundaries. Work toward maintaining your mental health, reducing anxiety and improving your relationships by standing up for yourself in a respectful, constructive manner.
Why It’s Important to Stand up for Yourself
Knowing how to stand up for yourself can help you feel more content, happy and at peace in life and your relationships. Putting your needs aside to accommodate others or remaining silent in hurtful situations to maintain peace can make you feel more stressed and resentful. Standing up for yourself is important because it helps you maintain boundaries and engage in healthy, constructive conversations with those around you.
How Do You Emotionally Stand up for Yourself?
Emotionally stand up for yourself by practicing healthy habits. Standing up for yourself can seem daunting if you’re used to going with the flow and putting others’ needs before your own, but speaking up about your feelings and protecting your boundaries can make you feel happier and more at peace. Overcome conflict anxiety and fear of confrontation by practicing healthy communication habits.
Whenever you feel that others aren’t respecting your boundaries, consider the following ways to stand up for yourself:
Identify What Bothers You
Identifying your needs and the words or actions that bother you can help you create healthy boundaries for yourself. Recognize your own needs to avoid continuously bending to others’ desires. Helping others and compromising is beneficial in some situations, but you risk creating more anxiety and stress for yourself if you always sacrifice your own needs to please or accommodate others.
Get to know yourself, your boundaries and your limits. If a friend’s inability to return your calls makes you feel unimportant, it’s important to let them know. If a family member’s continuous complaints about another family member create stress, you have the right to redirect or disengage from the conversation. Recognizing what makes you uncomfortable is the first step to standing up for yourself.
Pause and Clarify Before Responding
Engage in healthy conversations by pausing and clarifying before you respond to stressful situations. Respect others while you stand up for yourself by asking constructive questions and listening to others’ responses. If someone offends you or hurts your feelings, avoid reacting with emotion. Explain your perspective calmly and allow them to explain theirs. Avoid accusations and aggressive tones when you share your viewpoints, and you will be able to engage in a constructive, respectful conversation.
Be Authentic and Transparent
Practice expressing your thoughts, opinions and feelings openly. When you are honest with yourself and others, you can feel lighter and happier. Faking a smile and pretending to feel OK about things that bother you may make you feel good in the moment, but it will eventually lead to stress and resentment. Break people-pleasing habits by speaking up when you have an opinion or feel your boundaries have been crossed in some way.
Practicing transparency is a way to respect others because it allows you to communicate without expecting them to read your mind. People will be more open to listening to you when you develop a habit of voicing your thoughts openly and without defensiveness.
Remember That Your Feelings Are Valid
An important part of standing up for yourself is remembering that your feelings are valid. You have ownership of your thoughts, feelings and opinions, so no one else can tell you how to feel or what to believe. Remembering that your feelings are valid can help you feel more comfortable sharing them with others. It’s also important to remember that others’ feelings are also valid so you can engage in healthy conversation that respects both individuals’ viewpoints.
Protect Your Time
Your time is precious and essential to your well-being. Practice saying “no” to things that will cause burnout or you know you don’t have time for. Spending time with friends and family is important, but so is taking time for yourself. It’s OK to turn down invitations or requests for help. You need to tend to your own needs and maintain your own mental health before you can effectively help others, and prioritizing your own time is an important part of self-care.
If a friend invites you to go out on a night you just feel like relaxing, offer to schedule the night out on a later date. If a family member asks you to help move some furniture on a week you’re busy with work, politely let them know you just don’t have the time. Talk to your boss when your workload feels overwhelming to see if you can rearrange some deadlines, or ask if they have any tips to help you work more efficiently.
Use Body Language to Convey Confidence
Standing up for yourself often requires you to speak up in uncomfortable situations. Approaching a situation or conversation with self-confidence can help you remain true to your feelings and opinions. Use the following body language tips to feel and appear confident when you approach others:
- Approach others face-to-face in conversation.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Keep your shoulders raised.
- Avoid crossing your arms so the other person feels that you are open to their responses.
Use Respectful and Assertive Communication
It’s important to respect both yourself and others when you stand up for yourself. Difficult conversations can be productive and more comfortable with the right words and tone. Approach others with a positive tone so they are open and receptive to your thoughts.
Use positive and assertive communication to maintain a respectful conversation. Avoid passive, aggressive and passive-aggressive communication because these methods are harmful to both you and the person you communicate with.
Passive communicators avoid their feelings and opinions, which can lead to explosive outbursts in the future as resentment builds. Aggressive communicators express their thoughts and feelings, but they do so in a way that violates others’ rights and boundaries. They will often criticize, humiliate or control others. Passive-aggressive communicators act out of anger but appear passive on the surface, which causes them to avoid resolving issues. Rather than falling into these communication patterns, use assertive communication to express yourself.
Assertive communicators state their thoughts and feelings clearly without violating others’ rights. Assertive communication involves the following:
- Expressing feelings respectfully, appropriately and clearly
- Stating wants and needs respectfully, appropriately and clearly
- Communicating respect for the other person
- Listening well and not interrupting others
- Using “I” statements, such as, “I feel hurt when…,” rather than, “You hurt me when…”
- Using a clear and calm tone
- Maintaining a relaxed posture
- Standing up for your rights
- Refusing to be abused or manipulated
Schedule an Appointment at Taylor Counseling Group
Maintain your mental health, improve your relationships and live a healthier, happier life. Set and maintain boundaries by standing up for yourself in situations that make you feel stressed or uncomfortable. Your thoughts, opinions and feelings are valid, and you deserve to be treated with respect. By prioritizing your own well-being and boundaries, you can lead a more peaceful life and maintain healthy relationships.
Visit Taylor Counseling Group for accessible, reliable and affordable care. We offer a personalized therapy approach to help you identify stressors and overcome obstacles. Schedule an appointment at Taylor Counseling Group to start prioritizing your mental health today.