4 Ways to Stand Up For Yourself

Amy

Ever felt overwhelmed, as if the odds are stacked against you and full of self-doubt? No matter what odds are stacked against you I believe we all have it within ourselves to stand up for ourselves and what we believe in. 

Maybe in a large, loud, and vibrant way, or maybe in a quiet and self-assured way.

I looked at examples through history and the present day to discover tools within which we can use as a catalyst for change within our own lives.

Rosa Parks, an African American woman, writes in her autobiography that it was not exhaustion that rainy day on the bus that made her choose not to give up her seat to a white man as legally required it was this:

“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

Rosa Parks

Are you tired of giving in? Is it time to stand up for yourself?

I don’t believe you can change the world unless you start with your own front room, or classroom, or office, or your own heart. Read more of my response to this here: What To Do When You Are Tired of Giving In

SO, how can you do that today? Here is a list of 4 ways that you can STOP giving in and START standing up:

1. Write a list. Or Several.

This may not seem the most flamboyant way to start out.

But trust me. This sh*t works! Any paper or pencil will do. Don’t get caught up in all those delicious shelves in your local bookstore that advertise a list book for this, or a notepad for that. The only thing that I would not suggest writing a list on is loo roll. It tears easily and is not particularly durable. More often or not you’ll end up wiping your nose on it – or at worse, your bum- and that’s not really that helpful at this stage.

A list (on proper paper) is a GLORIOUS thing to behold. It is the metaphorical unknotting of the yarn ball after the cats – or children – have done a number on it. It is the untangling of that pile of necklaces that you adore but are afraid to tackle. It is the unwinding of your phone charger from your headphone cord… have I convinced you yet?

Start each list with something easy, or that you are about to do.

Get out of bed: ✓

See? Starting out with a win or small victory sets us up for success. Write a to-do list for the day and then lay it to one side. At this moment you no longer have to think about all the things for all the days.

Now, write a pros and cons or likes/dislikes/ or yes/no list about the subject that is weighing heavily on you. Write a list of what your beliefs really are and why you feel them so deeply. For example – you have been working on body positivity with your child, or yourself. Most Sundays you go to a family member’s house for dinner. There is ALWAYS talk about diets, commentaries on people’s bodies, calorie counting going on. Maybe this is how you used to think but you are consciously working on yourself and how you see the world around you. It is time to stand up for yourself and/or your child. List out different conversation topics you could introduce. List out positive affirmations you could say instead like ‘I believe all bodies are good bodies’. List out new ways that you would like to react instead of keeping quiet and feeling smaller.

When faced with a difficult situation that can leave us tongue-tied in the present but waxing -lyrical -at -2 am -when -insomnia -strikes it is wonderful to visualize the list that you have previously written and speak out from a place of choice and true belief. This leads us on to the next way of standing up for yourself –

2. Visualization.

Okay, so now you have your list or lists. What you like, what you don’t like. Lists of whys and why not’s. Lists of hard yes’s and hard no’s. Believe it or not – you have just done a hard thing! Way’d a go! You have already stuck up for yourself by making the choices that you can now shape your life around. I m serious! Many of us go through life bouncing around from pillar to post or Pinterest board to Facebook meme never quite sure what we actually think on a subject and not feeling that we ever have the time to make that decision. You are already ahead of the curve baby!

Now, to strengthen the ground upon which you stand [when standing up for yourself] you need to visualize.

Visualize:

To form a mental image of; imagine. “It is easy to visualize the future”

Synonyms: envisage, envision, conjure up, conjure up an image/picture of, picture in the mind’s eye, picture, call to mind, see, imagine, evoke, fancy, dream about, dream up, fantasize about, conceptualize, conceive of, think about

I’d like you to gather your lists and visualize yourself saying or doing what you have written in your ‘yes’ section, or your ‘to do’ section or maybe your ‘pro’s’ section.

For example: if a relationship has become verbally abusive or aggressive (if it is physically any of these things you do not need a list – get up and leave now. Trust me. You are too precious and valuable for anyone to treat you like that) then visualize yourself saying:

‘Let’s talk about this when we’ve calmed down’

 Or standing up and walking away.

Maybe you will say: 

“I love you too much for us to speak to each other like this”.

Or maybe it is the final time and it marks the end of a toxic relationship in which you can now visualize yourself leaving.

Once you have visualized it research shows that the brain has already started the process of making it happen!

Isn’t that amazing? Not only that but as you stay focused through your visualizations you will find opportunities to succeed in your goal of standing up for yourself. Even if it is just little things at first. One small victory paves the way for bigger and bigger wins.

3. Staying positive.

If you don’t have an amount of confidence in yourself then how are people going to have confidence in you and what you are saying as you stand your ground?

If you are struggling with being positive and having the confidence to stand up for yourself there are a few things you can do.

Talk to someone you trust. Maybe these are all new feelings and thoughts and you need to talk them through with someone. Often times our brains can work things out through having vulnerable and honest conversations with a loved one. Not only that but they can be a great sounding board for what you want to start saying, or changing, about who you are and your life. Friends or family that really know you and you trust will also help you to build your confidence for when the time comes.

Finding ‘your tribe’ (a group of people, organization, or bunch of like-minded friends) can be of vast benefit to you standing up for yourself in other areas of your life. You can learn from people that have done it before, you can expand your knowledge of a subject that you feel strongly about, you can share your stories with others and hear theirs.

For example: growing up I faced a lot of issues because of my gender. After having a daughter later in life I decided that I needed to educate myself more on how to raise a child who could speak up for themselves, be proud of any shaped body she might have .. and so much more! I took to Facebook and Instagram and found groups to join and people to follow that are spearheading the body positivity movement. (@bodiposipanda @amypencebrown @lizzo to name a few) My feeds are full of them and help me remain positive in what I want to stand up for in life. I am also expanding my knowledge and growing as a person alongside my daughter.

Choose positive self-talk.

Once you are conscious of the words that your inner voice wants to use to bring change into your life (see 1. Write a List. Or Several) you can focus on those positive changes and ‘re-code’ negative brain chatter with uplifting messages of encouragement. Many positive and affirming quotes can be found on Pinterest or other sites these days. Find some that make your heart flutter, memorize them, and write them around your home so you can see them. Use them as armour against any self-doubt that says things like “ you can’t stand up for yourself” or “your words don’t mean anything”, “be quiet, you don’t have anything new to say”.

Your inner voice can become like your bestest-in-the-whole-world friend (who would smack you upside the head if they heard you say those words to yourself!!) by replacing negativity and confidence crushing words with positive affirmations like:

“I can do this”

“I’ve got this”

“One step at a time”

“I feel happy with who I am. Right now”

“I am enough”

“I have confidence in me”

“I am beautiful today”

“I am good at this”

“Today is the day.”

Investing in positive affirmations, and using them in your life, nurtures and grows your efforts in standing up for yourself and are not to be ignored. It will make you feel more positive and more confident that you can DO THIS!

4. Take it slow

Maybe you don’t like the sound of this step? I know I don’t and I never have! I like it done and done yesterday. What I have learned as I have gotten older is that it is the natural order of the universe for things to take time. We do not expect a newborn to be a tax-paying member of society a month afterbirth now do we? Of course not! 

My friend, the same goes for you. 

Be gentle with yourself. Nurture your inner voice and what it yearns to stand up for.

As Diana Ross sang in The Wiz :

If you believe

Within your heart you’ll know

That no one can change

The path that you must go

Believe what you feel

And know you’re right, because

The time will come around

When you say it’s yours

Believe there’s a reason to be

Believe you can make time standstill

You know from the moment you try

If you believe

I know you will

Believe in yourself, right from the start

You’ll have brains

You’ll have a heart

You’ll have courage

To last your whole life through

If you believe in yourself

As I believe in you

(Charlie Smalls)

In many cultures understanding the natural rhythm of the year, the waxing and waning of the moon, the seasons and the life cycles of things help people gain perspective within their own lives. It is sadly becoming a skill that many of us are losing. In our information age when everything is coming at you fast and constantly it is easy to forget these things. So please, by all means, set yourself goals and deadlines but choose them wisely? Give yourself time to understand and really feel the choices that you are making. Ascertain where it is where you will be making a stand. Is your audience ready? Will it ever be ready? And if not, is it time to boldly step out of your comfort zone and find new ground upon which to take a stand? Or has the time come, as it did for Rosa Parks and so many people in our shared history, for you to be the voice that rises out of the crowd and says

 “Enough! I am tired of giving in. I take a stand today and things will begin to change”

Because they will. Maybe slowly to begin with, like a seed waking up after a long winter. Unfurling and taking root. Growing stronger and branching out. Blossoming and producing fruit. Until you get to a place where you don’t even remember what it felt like to be taking these very first steps. Writing lists. Whispering affirmations to your doubt-filled self in the depths of night. Staying positive in the face of negativity. Believing in change and strength before you could see or feel it.

In Conclusion

To paraphrase C.G Jung –

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about you, but from being unable to communicate to others what is important to you.”

No longer will this quote ring true. You are entering a new era in your life. One in which you stand up for yourself and make a change. Once you have written your lists, cleared your mind a little so that you have been able to identify your clear ideas and ideals, visualized yourself standing firm in your beliefs, found your tribe, collected and curated affirmations to fill yourself with positivity – you’ll probably need a lie-down! Sheesh! You are AMAZING! Talk about standing up for yourself! You could probably write a self-help guide of your own at this point… if not, please do share your stories in the comments 🙂 

Seriously though. 

Rest. 

Take your time and then take a deep breath. 

You got this.

Stand up for yourself.

For what you believe in.

For the thing that you love.

Changing seats or not changing seats, having that hard conversation, standing up to bullies, breaking the habits of generations before you, sharing histories of the world-changing people that have come before us, whispering to our children before they fall asleep ‘you can do great things’, silencing that negative voice in your head or taking the first step on a new journey as you navigate a different path in life for yourself IS standing up for yourself.

You hold a piece of magic inside of you – the catalyst for change.

Much love today,

Amy

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, your stories and victories of how you’ve made a stand in your life! Please comment below if you would like to share. 

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  1. Wonderful list!! Recently I’ve been trying to be more direct and honest about things and situations with people. As a default “yes person,” this is an inspiring list❤️

Amy Chadney
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