There’s a part of you that would love to serve every human being on this planet – all the time.
The thought of upsetting someone or believing someone’s angry with you makes you decidedly uncomfortable. And saying “no” or standing up for yourself without apologizing a billion times doesn’t come easy to you at all.
I’ve been there.
However, as I’ve started to grow as a writer and business owner, I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself without imagining that the whole world was going to hate me.
I can assure you that you’re not alone with this fear of being judged or dumped when saying “no.” It’s a universal anxiety that leads to all kinds of problems, as well as mental anxieties like burnout or even depression.
But how can we get rid of this fear? How can we learn to stand up for ourselves?
Here are a few ideas.
1) Know that you’re a priority
That’s the biggest lesson of all.
You have to be aware of the fact that you’re allowed to make yourself a priority. You are just as valuable as other people. When you feel like you need a break, more attention, or more time by yourself – these are valid.
Only you can decide to put yourself first (just like everybody else does).
2) Make your boundaries clear
If you don’t have any boundaries, other people won’t be able to recognize them.
So, take a few moments to contemplate what you want your boundaries to be, both physical and mental. Dig deep and maybe even write a little boundary checklist for yourself, so that you can refer back to it when you feel like your boundaries are being taken advantage of or when they become more and more diluted.
More often than not, I often shy away from confronting others and sticking up for myself. As a result, I say “yes” more often than I want, and end up resenting the situation and myself.
It’s unhealthy and it’s not fair for both sides involved. So, in the last few months, I’ve started to practice saying “no” and sticking up for myself.
Was I always successful? No. I have on occasion still met people just to please them when I was utterly exhausted, or gone out of my way to help them when I had a ton of other things to do myself.
But there were times when I did succeed and said: “I’m sorry, but I have too much on my plate and I cannot meet you right now.”
Was this always met with understanding? Nope. But that’s okay. I knew my truth and I knew it was the right thing for me to do.
So, set yourself a challenge and practice saying the “n” word as often as you can.
4) Have a script
If you’re scared of not knowing what to say, write it out before you have the conversation or get into the situation. This will give you a boost of confidence and the self-belief that you won’t end up being speechless and giving in when you’d rather opt out.
5) Mention your fear
Fear of confronting others is completely normal, especially when you’re not sure how they’ll react (or when the other person means a lot to you). However, if you lean into your fear and maybe even mention it, it’ll lose its power and you’ll be able to work with it.
6) Do not defend yourself
I recently studied a course that explained when you defend yourself, you are attacked. Totally not what we learn, right?
We are taught to defend ourselves all the time, but maybe we’ve got it all wrong. Maybe we shouldn’t defend ourselves because our opinion doesn’t need defending, and neither do our actions and choices.
So, if you’re attacked for going a different way, just be silent and know your truth in your heart. This will silence the other person faster than you think.
Standing up for yourself takes practice, but the more you do it the better you’ll get at it. It’s an important self-care tool to have, not only in business but also in your personal life. The more you rely on it, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll be able to stand in your truth.
Do you have any other tips for standing up for yourself and putting your foot down to protect your boundaries and needs? This can be hard to do (especially if it’s initially a foreign concept), so we’d love to hear what’s worked for you.