Being a doormat isn’t a good look, and it isn’t a comfortable place to be. How can you change the habit of giving in and letting others ride roughshod over you?
Follow this guide to stand firm and respect yourself.
PEACE AT ANY PRICE?
Some people may tell you that it’s best to have a quiet life. Standing up for yourself isn’t worth the bother and you may as well go along with what everyone else wants rather than argue. That can be true of minor things, but when it comes to important matters, the price of ‘peace’ could be very high indeed.
If you are constantly giving in you may convince yourself you’re creating peace, but you’ll be paying with repressed resentment, frustration and loss of creative energy. You could feel depressed and lack motivation. The ‘peace’ you’re getting isn’t really peace anyway – not much of a bargain.
True peace comes from being in harmony with yourself. Set yourself free from the control of others and experience real inner tranquillity.
SO WHY DO YOU NOT STAND UP FOR YOURSELF?
If you really intend to change the habit of giving in then it’s important to understand why you do it. Don’t assume it’s because you’re ‘weak’. Ask yourself if you do it because:
- You feel unsure of yourself – maybe others know more than you?
- You care about the feelings of others – you can’t bear to upset them
- You’ve slipped into the habit of ‘pleasing’ because you want people to like you
- To be honest, you’re lazy. You can’t be bothered to argue
- You’re afraid of what could happen
Several of the above may apply to you, and there may be other reasons, also. Write down all your thoughts on the matter so you can clarify a path forwards.
LISTEN TO YOURSELF
You may care about others, respect their wishes and not want to upset them, but what about you? Step outside yourself for a moment and think of yourself as an important human being, with needs and feelings. How about giving yourself some sympathy?
What would your advice to yourself be if you were your own best friend? Take a while to imagine this in detail. Write down all this good advice. Imagine your ‘best friend’ is standing behind you, giving you support, whispering advice – now go out and stand up for yourself!
IMAGINE THE RESULT
If you’re afraid of what will happen, settle comfortably, relax and imagine in detail what will happen if you assert yourself. Will it really be so bad? Won’t it be better than going along with what others want and feeling inwardly angry?
If you’re being bullied, remind yourself that bullies are insecure people who hurt and control others in order to make themselves feel powerful. What have you got to lose by standing up to this person? Isn’t almost anything better than putting up with being pushed around? At the very least, resolve to get out of the situation. Imagine what it will be like when you are free.
The scenario may look difficult, but now use your imagination positively and visualise a good outcome. See yourself changing things, being strong, getting your own way and feeling good. Remember, you do have the power to change your life and create your own reality. It’s worth the effort.
Even though you do not necessarily have to argue in order to stand up for yourself, there will be times when you will have to say something. This may be to tell someone what you’re going to do or maybe to complain about the way you’ve been treated.
You don’t have to have an answer for everything. It’s better if you lead the conversation, making your own points without necessarily coming up with a clever answer to what is said to you. Indeed, it’s often difficult to think straight when under stress. So be clear about the most important points and simply repeat them. For instance, if you think something’s unfair you may repeat ‘I do not think it’s fair’. Keep your body language powerful – stand straight, chin up and make eye contact. Say what you have to say clearly and firmly.
You may also choose to say what you’re going to do. Or you may repeat ‘I’m afraid I don’t agree’, or ‘I insist’. Isolate your most important themes – no more than three or it could be confusing – and stick to them.
YOU’RE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU THINK
You may believe everyone sees you are weak and vulnerable and you may feel frightened and unsteady – but others may not see this at all. In fact if you choose to hold your head high and come on strong, then no-one is going to guess that you’re shrinking inside.
Everyone is vulnerable, everyone is afraid at times. You are no weaker than anyone else. Behave ‘as if’ you feel powerful, and you will be.
GO YOUR OWN WAY
If something really matters to you, do it! Standing up for yourself isn’t about proving you’re right, winning an argument or having a major row. You can just make your decision and vote with your feet. Of course, you’ll have to deal with the fall-out afterwards, but at least you will have made a step in the right direction.
Remember, you do not have to justify yourself. It does not matter what anyone says and you don’t have to listen. Hang on to your independence because it’s one of your most precious possessions.
DARE TO BE WRONG!
If you stand up for yourself sometimes you will get it wrong, you may be ‘in the wrong’ or make an unwise decision. That’s human and you should acknowledge this and forgive yourself. Often, if you’re used to going along with others, when you first break out you will get it wrong. That’s because you’re not thinking straight, which is understandable, and it takes you a while to find your feet.
Shut your ears to any ‘I told you so’s” or critical comments. Okay, so you messed up, but you messed up your way! Soon you will get it right.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We’ve looked at peace at any price, why you don’t stand up for yourself, listening to yourself, imagining the result, repeating your points, your power, daring to be wrong and going your own way. Putting some or all of this into practice will help greatly if you wish to stand up for yourself.
PUBLISHED: 22 November 2018