It begins with a ‘people-pleasing’ tendency. Then expands into something much larger. 

To an extent, it often gets blown out of proportion. And, that’s why standing up for yourself becomes tougher. You’ve already stooped so low, so won’t straightening back up be tough? Ouch! That hurts, doesn’t it? It’s a painful process, but it’s possible.

I’ve always been passionate about my work. I’m also extremely meticulous about my deadlines. While I may have played different roles in my personal and professional life, there were times when I felt I needed to stand up for myself. But, I didn’t.

Let’s trace it back to the past!

  • When the bully in school grabbed my tiffin box, I never did retaliate.
  • When the overbearing senior in college commanded me to “borrow my attire” for a fashion show, I stood dumbstruck wondering how I could say a ‘no’ when I meant a ‘no’.
  • The obnoxious colleague who walked all over me, and I allowed it.
  • The fair-weather friend who body-shamed me, I tolerated it while seething within.

I’m sure you’ve all gone through many areas in life where you may have felt you could have stood up for yourself. It often begins with ‘not wanting to hurt someone but you are creating space to allow others to hurt you.’

While the world may seem to be a place of disagreeable people, standing up for yourself will possibly eliminate these types of people from your inner circle. In this manner, you will surround yourself with people who support your growth.

What does standing up for yourself look like? Let’s take a look.

5 Powerful Ways to Stand up for Yourself

  1. Be Assertive: The practice of assertiveness is a skill. It’s about ensuring your opinions are heard without trespassing any boundaries. It’s knowing you are assertive, not aggressive. You learn the tact of expressing your opinion without feelings of anxiety. 

If your manager says, “I need both the tasks to be done as quickly as you can,” you can word your reply, “Sure, the first one seems doable but I’d need time to get back on the second one.”

2. The Power of Saying No: The magic word that many of us dread! How can we say no to the gettogether we do not wish to attend? It’s about understanding your needs come first and being assertive to share the same. The power of no maintains space that gives you time as well as projects you as someone confident in their space.

If your friend expects you to adjust your schedule to her routine, you can say, “Let’s try this plan some other time when we both have free time!” 

3. Define how you want to be Treated: A lot of this has to do with how you feel about yourself. It’s holding this unwavering faith while being convinced about how you want to feel and be treated with respect. We may often end up being taken advantage of, thus learning to stand up for yourself is about setting boundaries. You need to display the same in your behavior and actions to get the same response. Another way to determine this is to think of your situations where you felt sidelined or allowed people to misbehave. You need to understand why you gave the power away to someone else to treat you this way.

If someone bullies you at work and makes personal remarks, you can say, “I’m not sure how this is context with what your role or the project that we are discussing, but let’s make sure these remarks don’t happen again.”

 4. Work on your Body Language: It’s amazing how a straight posture with your shoulders pushed behind changes your stance. Body language plays an important role in lending that assertiveness to your entire persona. You’re strong, and you need to show it! There’s a reason why Power Dressing is also connected to improving confidence to make standing up for yourself easier than it should.

If you feeling nervous about a meeting, begin walking with confidence, practice your speech before the mirror. Say to yourself, “I am successful while presenting this topic to my audience. The audience loves and appreciates my speech.”

5. Practice makes a man and a woman, perfect!: While I don’t propagate perfectionism, here’s something you need to do. Standing up for yourself is an everyday job. It begins with the time when someone cuts you in the queue or a rude colleague who makes personal remarks. It’s about being actively involved in this process to stand up for what you believe in, which is YOU!

Be self-aware of the incidents in everyday life. Take small steps till you shine your own power.

As women, assertiveness may bring with it a whole lot of criticisms and opinions. Why is standing up for yourself important at work? An assertive woman in the workplace is a figure not everyone will applaud for. And, you need to make peace with it. Your assertiveness for a promotion or wanting a pay hike may often be dismissed by others. It’s here you need to remind yourself about not needing validation. 

The same applies to relationships. If you crave your space, simply create it. 

Standing up for yourself is about an awareness that you hold this power. Discover it, unleash it, and let the world sit up and take notice! 



Author: Kashmira Lad

Indian Fashion Blogger with a Focus on Women Empowerment and Mental Health.  

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