Do you stand up for yourself? Or do you let people walk all over you and push you around? I thought I stood up for myself consistently. I realized recently that I don’t—at least not in every situation.
About two weeks ago, I had a session with my Certified High Performance Coach. I mentioned my unhappiness with how a member of my team controlled some essential aspects of my career. I also complained about communication issues with this team member and another.
That’s when my coach asked me a question that got my attention. “Why are you allowing people to misbehave in ways that don’t serve you?”
“Misbehaving?” I’d never heard that word applied to the type of behavior I had described.
I thought about her question.
“You’re right,” I replied. “I’m allowing people to behave—or misbehave—in ways I don’t like, that don’t serve me, and that aren’t acceptable given their roles.”
I hated to admit it, but I was allowing these people to walk all over me. I wasn’t standing up for myself.
Do You Stand Up for Yourself?
To evaluate if you stand up for yourself, you have to know what that means or looks like. To me, “standing up for yourself” means:
- asking for what you want
- speaking up when you feel you are being mistreated or disrespected
- making tough decisions that maintain boundaries, values, and self-esteem
During my coaching session, I saw clearly that I wasn’t doing these things in some crucial situations. And I know better.
So why wasn’t I standing up for myself? I was avoiding doing so for all the typical reasons:
- I don’t like conflict.
- I am afraid of adverse outcomes.
- I don’t want to be judged negatively.
- I don’t want to be disliked.
- I don’t want to be criticized.
- I am afraid of the result.
That’s why…more often than I’d like to admit…I have kept my mouth closed, put off decisions, and allowed others to dictate how I live my life. Realizing this was a big wake-up call for me.
I could see how I allowed people outside the professional arena to walk all over me, too. I have’ t always stood up for myself with my mother, sisters, husband, or friends.
I had given away my power. And I had allowed others to misbehave in ways that didn’t serve me. That encouraged them to deal with me in that way habitually as well.
Knowing all that, I decided to stand up for myself with the team member with whom I was most unhappy. I wrote an email clearly asking for what I really wanted—a detailed update on an important project. Each time I’d asked for the information in the past, I’d received vague answers along with anger and reprimands.
I was keenly aware now that this person was misbehaving in a way that didn’t serve me.
Sending that email pushed the envelope (excuse the pun), but I felt good about asking for what I wanted. I reminded myself that providing this information was actually part of this person’s job. I had the right to ask for it—and deserved to receive it.
Based on past experience, though, I knew sending the email might not result in a positive one. But I hit send anyway.
I stood up for myself.
The information I requested arrived a day later, along with a notice that our professional relationship was severed.
No Negative Results
Here’ the thing…
While that result could be seen as negative—and I was not happy about it at first—this team member came to the same decision I had come to quite some time ago. The professional relationship was not working for either of us, and it needed to come to an end. Granted, I had planned to take action at a later date—after we completed the project.
I wasn’t ready to sever the relationship yet, but I wanted to know if it was necessary. I knew this person’s response would give me that clarity.
It did. Honestly, the fallout created some issues and stress for me. And being told someone doesn’t want to work with you any longer never feels good or boosts your self-confidence.
On the other hand, the result of my action freed me from an unhealthy and unproductive relationship that made me feel unhappy, stressed, and powerless. And I was now free to seek out new opportunities and a relationship that would better serve me and my professional goals.
The most important result, however, was the fact that I felt better because I finally had stood up for myself.
3 Reasons to Stand Up for Yourself
When you stand up for yourself, things change…ultimately for the better. You stop shrinking and start growing into your best, most powerful self. Also, you stop letting others dictate how you live your life and start creating the rules.
Don’t cower as you think about telling someone what you want or believe, saying “no” to something or someone, or deciding to do something different despite what others say. Stand up tall! Remember, you have control over how you show up in this lifetime. You have the power to choose who and what impacts your life.
Plus, it’s time to enjoy the benefits of standing up for yourself. I can think of three.
Every time you don’t stand up for yourself, your self-esteem drops a notch or two. Your action or inaction makes you feel horrible about yourself.
On one level, you realize you deserve to be treated better. Yet, you allow others to mistreat you. And each time you repeat this scenario, you feel less empowered to do things differently.
The lower your self-esteem, the more you believe you aren’t good enough to have what you want and aren’t worthy of better treatment.
When you stand up for yourself, your self-esteem rises. The process itself affirms your self-worth. When you ask—or demand—that people stop misbehaving in ways that don’t serve you, you affirm your worth and stand in your personal power.
Then you can step into your best self and create a life full of relationships that serve you well.
As your self-esteem plummets, your self-confidence follows suit. The two are interrelated. And, a lack of confidence makes it harder to stand up for yourself.
Self-confidence allows you to take bold action. It’s hard to be courageous if you have a low level of confidence.
When you stand up for yourself, you increase your self-confidence, which makes you more able to take action despite the fear of possible negative after-effects.
Self-confidence feeds your sense of self-empowerment and self-worth. As a result, it becomes easier to ask for what you want, do what you want, set clear boundaries, and create the change you desire.
As a result, you’ll have better relationships, feel in control of your life, and be happier overall. You’ll begin to live by your own expectations and rules—not someone else’s. And you’ll be willing to take the risks that lead to growth and success.
Finally, when you stand up for yourself, you allow yourself to create what you want—personally and professionally. In fact, you ask for it clearly…and open to receiving it.
To stand up for yourself, you have to know what you want. And the more clarity you have about what you desire on any level, the higher the likelihood that you will create it.
Stand in your power. Know your worth. And confidently tell the Universe what you desire. While you are at it, tell the people in your life, too! Create a life you want and love, and relationships that support that dream.
The Choice is Yours
You’ve got a choice: continue to let others misbehave in ways that don’t serve you, or stand up for yourself.
Know this: When you stand up for yourself, you open the door and allow in amazing possibilities.
Yes, there may be some fallout when you stand up for yourself, but it will be worth it. Whether you initially see the results of doing so as negative or positive, you will find yourself presented with new opportunities.
With increased self-esteem and self-confidence, and the ability to ask for and receive what you want, you can take advantage of those opportunities. You can create a life you love, step into the best version of yourself, and live without compromise.
That’s worth standing up for, don’t you think?
Do you stand up for yourself consistently? What are the results of doing so—or not doing so? Tell me in a comment below, and please share this post with someone who might find it useful.
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Photo courtesy o fMykola Kravchenko.