Many of us feel that we would like to be more assertive. We may be a kind and happy person feeling that we are sometimes taken advantage of, or we may have had a bad experience that we do not want to repeat. The advantages of standing up for yourself are many. Not only will others learn how we like to be treated, but we will also feel more in control of our daily lives. Standing up for yourself does not mean becoming angry or retaliating needlessly. Ultimately, it refers to getting the respect and good treatment that you are already entitled to. By developing our strength both inwardly and in our behaviour, we will feel more able to stand up for ourselves. This will reduce the number of times that we are ignored and disrespected, and also empower us to deal with them.

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Stay Calm

Staying calm is often misunderstood. To stay calm in a situation does not mean that we simply repress our feelings or ignore what is happening to us. Rather, it means acknowledging that the situation is making us unhappy or uncomfortable and taking steps to deal with it. We cannot deal with something effectively if we are angry or agitated. Staying calm involves acknowledging that we are ultimately safe and within our rights. Try to empathise with whoever might be causing you problems. Try to listen to them sincerely and understand where they’re coming from. Then calmly begin thinking about ways to solve the problem. Communicate honestly if you are hurt or confused, and also make it clear that you don’t find this treatment acceptable. You are stating facts about your own feelings, so don’t allow others to disagree or undermine them. You are speaking only for yourself and how you feel. Try to think calmly and methodically. Staying genuinely calm improves others’ respect for us and enables us to communicate clearly.

Acknowledge A Harm

If you have been caused harm, whether physical, emotional or otherwise it is important to acknowledge it. We can only begin standing up for ourselves if we develop our own understanding of what is and is not acceptable to us. You don’t have to get angry about the fact that a harm was caused, but you should not ignore it either. To stand up for yourself, begin calmly taking reasonable action. If you were unfairly dismissed from work, for example, it is time to contact someone above your boss. If you experienced poor treatment at a hospital, consider talking to a medical malpractice attorney. Even if it was simply that a friend offended you, it is important to acknowledge to them that you were hurt or offended. Then discuss whether it is possible to resolve the situation. By facing the fact that you feel a harm was caused, you can begin solving the problem and creating your own boundaries.

Improve Your Self Esteem

Improving one’s self esteem can actually be a lifelong process. It can involve both deep thought and behavioural change. It is important to recognise that you have a natural worth and right to respect. You should also regularly tell yourself not to allow this worth to be determined by how people treat you. Don’t be tempted to think, “Someone treated me badly today, therefore I feel bad about myself”. Or “Someone treated me well today, therefore I feel good about myself.” Acknowledge that your worth exists entirely independently of how others regard it. You must treasure and cultivate your own self worth and the treatment that you rightly deserve.