Do you feel a sense of empowerment when you get the chance to speak up? Or do you shrink at the thought of voicing how you really feel? If you’re like me, I’m more like the second scenario. Although, I must say that I’m a work in progress. I used to shrink, but now, in certain situations, I have the guts of Lady Gaga. The process isn’t easy, but very necessary for your eventual happiness and peace of mind. I’m going to share 8 ways to stand up for yourself. To voice your opinion. To be brave enough to let someone know how you really feel. Read them and go for it!
- Practice telling the truth. This one is tough. But next time, instead of smiling while Marlene chews you out about your sweet, little Rover peeing in her yard, maybe say, That’s what dogs do, Marlene. They pee. Rover pees in my yard too, but it’s better that he pees outside rather than inside. I will try to remember to walk on the other side of the street from now on. At least you voiced your opinion. You didn’t just smile and take it. You didn’t attack Marlene, but you offered an explanation and also a solution.
- Know it doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t just wake up from a good night’s sleep and Presto! You can speak your feelings! Nope. It’s something you have to work on. Stop slumping when you walk. Hold those shoulders back and say, Hey Luther. There’s the back of the line, buddy. One point for you and zero for your inferiority complex. Progress.
- Figure out what’s really going on in you. Being easy-going is nice and everything, but if something’s bothering you and you keep quiet, you’re going to experience way more stress and anxiety, like when Judith said she would serve boiled artichokes at the luncheon. If you’d have simply said, I don’t really like boiled artichokes, instead of eating them and barfing for 2 days, you could’ve saved yourself a lot of grief. Judith isn’t a psychic, by the way.
- Just say no. Somehow you just have to say no if you feel uptight when Bernie asks you if he can borrow your new Cadillac so he can impress his new girl. Maybe say, Hey Bernie, I just got this car and I’d feel better if you asked someone else this time. No need to tell him he drives like your Aunt Gladys.
- Out with it! You’ve just got to be straightforward. No use letting that stubborn resentment build up like that nasty plaque on your teeth. Let’s say your roomie leaves his dishes in the sink when there’s literally a dishwasher 5 inches away. Instead of cleaning up after him you could say, Hey Ed. Did you know we have a dishwasher right next to the sink? Maybe could you take a couple of minutes and stick them in there? Here let me show you how easy it is.
- Be patient with yourself. You won’t ever be perfect in this life. If you pass up a moment to give your opinion, trust me. There will be other opportunities.
- Don’t grab your weapon. It’s important to resist the need to shoot your mouth off right at the start of the confrontation. Like say Calvin has come unglued. He’s certain that you told Phil what he said about Norm. Of course you didn’t gossip about Norm to Phil, but he is sure of it and is cussing you out. The important thing is that you remain calm. Maybe wait it out; let him cool off for a few seconds, then gently and perhaps privately let him know the truth of the situation. Most importantly here, Calvin can’t bully you. You’ve made that clear.
- Balance is key. You are in charge of your feelings and nobody can steal them from you. Like that old Kenny Rodgers song, You gotta know when to hold em. Know when to fold em. Know when to walk away…(I’m not including the lyric know when to run, because you never have to run from anything except maybe your screaming kids)