Let's start caring for your emotions!
Tune in and join me as I chat about how to understand and manage your emotions.
I'm an emotional health mentor, edu-preneur and coach who loves teaching you how to understand, manage and embrace your emotions.
Sharing is caring!
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
I recently got a question from a listener: ‘how can you start standing up for yourself? I have such a hard time doing it because I don’t want people to not like me.’
First of all, thanks for sending me your question. This is something I’ve struggled with, and I know a lot of my blog readers do as well.
So, let’s talk about it. How can you start standing up for yourself or speaking up when it’s difficult?
The first thing I would say is decide if it’s worth it. There are times when it’ll be really important for you to stand up for yourself, and other times that it’s ok to just let it slide.
For example, I used to have a coworker who would frequently come to me with 9-11 emergency situations. After a while of helping her at the drop of a hat, I got really sick of bending over backwards for her.
So, I stood up to her, which was really scary for me because this woman was very intense and confrontational.
But I did it anyway. I was all shaky, and nervous. I told her I couldn’t help her this time because my plate was too full, and that in the future I would need more notice so I could organize my other tasks as well.
Well, she did NOT take it very well. She blew up at me, and stormed out of the room. We could definitely classify this as an emotional bullying situation.
I let her have those emotions (which is something we’ll talk about next), and just kept my distance. I also let my manager know what happened, and luckily she supported me.
So, it was a difficult moment. But that coworker DID start giving me a bit more notice when she needed my help after that.
So for me in that situation, not only was it worth it to stand up for myself, it was also crucial for my mental health.
However, there are other times when it’s just not worth it to speak up or stand up for yourself.
For instance, once I went to a meet-up group here in Montreal, where I was playing board games with new people. And when I told the group I was from Utah, one man asked me if my father was a polygamist, which he isn’t. But I found that to be a very offensive question to ask someone you’re just meeting. Like, how personal can you get? Asking someone you just met about their parent’s marital situation.
So, since this guy was just an acquaintance, I didn’t have anything invested in that relationship. It’s a low-value relationship for me. He didn’t affect my day-to-day life, and I would probably never see him again. So, it’s not a relationship that I wanted to invest much energy into.
So, I just told him, ‘I don’t really want to talk about that.’ And I moved on. However, I could have gone into the history of Utah, how the state was built by Mormon polygamists, but now modern Mormons no longer practice polygamy. But I didn’t because it wasn’t worth it to me.
And for those moments when you decide you don’t need to speak up, don’t shame or judge yourself for it. Not every situation calls for it. But it’s up to you to decide if it IS worth it given the context.
My next tip is that you need to allow people to have their emotions when you stand up for yourself. You never know how they’ll react. They might react way better or way worse than you expect. But whatever the outcome, remember that you can’t control how people think or feel.
In the example with my coworker, I could have done emotional care taking and tried to take responsibility for her emotional reaction. I could have apologized for upsetting her, or I could have backtracked with what I said and offered to do her last minute project out of guilt, which is what my natural instinct was trying to tell me to do.
But I stayed firm, even though it was difficult.
I’m not saying that you need to be a jerk and speak recklessly without caring how you might affect other people. I’m saying that when you decide to speak up, you cannot control how the other person responds.
So, no matter how the other person reacts, remind yourself that they’re allowed to their emotions and reactions.
Next, you have to give yourself grace with how your words come out. When you’re not used to standing up for yourself, you might just blurt out the words, or say things in an awkward way.
But you have to forgive yourself for it.
Once I hired a contractor for some work, and I noticed she was spending her time on things that weren’t a priority for me.
So, I decided to tell her that I would rather that she focus on these other things. And since I felt so uncomfortable about speaking up, I said it in the strangest way. I don’t remember my exact words, but I do remember that my wording was far from perfect. It was all ok in the end though.
So, if you start standing up for yourself and happen to put your foot in your mouth, forgive yourself for it. It’s totally ok. It takes practice, but you’ll get better at it.
My last tip is to always back yourself up. The listener who sent this question in said she doesn’t want people to ‘not like her.’ And I really get that, and struggled with that myself.
So, you’ll probably get mixed reactions when you stand up for yourself. Some people might get turned off from it, and yes, it’s possible that they won’t like you.
But some people might actually respect you for it. For me, I know that I respect people when they speak up or disagree when everyone else in the room thinks something different than them.
It takes courage, it’s not easy to do.
Standing up for yourself specifically to family is hard. Standing up to people close to you is hard. There’s just no getting around that.
But when I look back to when it was most difficult to stand up for myself and I did it anyway, those moments were really pivotal in my personal growth. It’s a rite of passage to stand up for yourself. You gain so much self-respect and confidence when you start showing up for yourself in those difficult moments.
And to me, that feels way better than having everyone like you, because it helps you like yourself. Liking yourself is a beautiful feeling. And the more you like who you are, you slowly stop needing every single person to like you.
Standing up for yourself helps you clarify who’s there to support you, and who isn’t. It’s a win all around.
So, let’s recap. When you want to speak up and start standing up for yourself, you first need to decide if it’s worth it or not given the specific situation.
Then, you have to allow the other person to react however they react. Let THEM take responsibility for their feelings.
Third, remember that you don’t have to say things perfectly when you speak up. Forgive yourself when you don’t say the exact right thing.
Finally, remember to back yourself up when you stand up for yourself. Think loving positive thoughts that reinforce your decision to support yourself.
And remember, it’s not as scary as you think. You can totally do it.
If you want more information about how to understand your emotions, check out my eBook and workbook, called How to Identify and Process Your Emotions. Podcast listeners can get 10% off the regular price for the month of June, with code PODCAST10. Visit hollysoulie.com/shop to claim your discount now.