Speaking up for yourself

Every day we make dozens of little choices that either benefit us by asserting our ideas or diminish us because we hesitate in making our views or desires known.

Sometimes it seems easier to go with the flow to avoid potential conflict. But the truth is that letting people walk all over you can increase feelings of stress and anxiety, and it might eventually lessen your feelings of self-worth and play to your insecurities.

Learning to stand up for yourself will help you take charge of your life, believe in your own power and embolden you to reach for your dreams. The stronger you feel, the stronger you will become.

Learn to stand up for yourself in any situation with these 10 simple yet powerful steps.

Related: How to Stand Up for Yourself


1. Practice being transparent and authentic.

It might be difficult at times, but if you learn to express yourself openly and honestly, it will feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. So often, we hide behind a halfhearted smile and nod instead of saying what we think. It takes practice, but learning to be authentic and open about what you are feeling or thinking is the first step. Once you get in the habit of making yourself heard without being overly accommodating or defensive, people will be more open to hearing you.

2. Take small but powerful steps.

If you are struggling with being assertive, start taking small steps to stand up for yourself. Even just learning to walk more confidently—head held high, shoulders back—will help you appear and feel more confident. Channel that confidence when dealing with others. This attitude can apply to all areas of your life. Feeling annoyed at the person who cut in front of you at Starbucks? Politely ask them to move to the back. See an unfair charge on a bill from one of your service providers? Call and dispute it.

3. When someone attacks, wait them out.

As you grow more confident in expressing yourself, you’re also going to have to learn to face those who want to override you. There will always be people whose personalities are set to attack mode. It’s important that you remain calm but assertive if you feel like someone is trying to bully you. Don’t allow yourself to get frazzled or react with low blows. Don’t cater to them or allow them to browbeat you either. Walk the high road but stand your ground.

4. Figure out what’s really bothering you.

Going with the flow for the purposes of not making waves actually creates more stress and anxiety for yourself. Of course, mustering the courage to face something or someone that is bothering you can feel scary. But facing the issue will empower you to make it better and diminishes the control it has over you. Remember, people can’t read your mind; if you don’t vocalize what is bothering you, no one will know.

5. Clarify first, without attacking.

It’s tempting to take a self-righteous stand, especially if you are sure you are in the right. From your viewpoint, you are justifiably defending yourself against someone who seems to be entirely in the wrong. But it’s important to resist the urge to react with emotion. Instead, take a breath and calmly explain your perspective to them. Avoid combative tones or accusatory words. Clarify exactly what you mean and listen to their response. Only then can a real discussion begin to take place.

6. Practice makes perfect.

Once you start getting the hang of what it means to stand up for yourself, it’s time to practice asking for what you want as often as possible. When someone says something you openly disagree with, or you feel pushed into doing something you don’t want to do, say something. Research shows that it takes 66 days to form a new habit, so stick with the new assertiveness for two months and you might be surprised by the results.

7. Be deliberate.

Here’s a situation that many of us have found ourselves in: sharing space with a messy co-worker or a roommate who is a slob. You might have remained silent while growing more aggravated at the situation. It might be tempting to slip into passive-aggressive behavior, such as angrily cleaning up the mess or making snide comments. Try being deliberate instead. Tell the person how you are feeling without being accusatory. Be straightforward with your concerns. Follow up with a simple suggestion that can correct the situation, such as: “If you can take a minute to tidy up your space at night, it would be a big help.”

8. Stand up for your time.

Time is a precious and limited commodity, and yet we often feel pressured to give it away when we have the ability to say no. There are times when you might not have a choice, such as when your boss says a project has high priority. But don’t let obligations dictate how you spend the hours of your day. You are in control of your own time. Push back when it’s appropriate, or tactfully disengage from those people or situations that submerge your schedule.

9. Recognize that no one can invalidate you.

You are in complete ownership of your feelings and actions. Your beliefs, emotions, thoughts and ideas belong to you, and no one else can tell you what you feel or invalidate your opinions. Likewise, if you seek to invalidate other people’s points of view, you are also sabotaging any chance for problem-solving or having an open discussion.

10. Fake it till you make it.

Learning to stand up for yourself won’t happen overnight. It takes time to grow comfortable with being assertive. While you are in the learning stage, it might help to imagine that you are an actor learning to play a new role.

Imagine that you are the most assertive person you know. How would they handle themselves in a difficult situation? There might be times when you swing from being overly zealous to being too indecisive. Learning to stand up for yourself is like riding a bike: Eventually you will find the right balance.

Related: How to Gain Confidence and Become the Greatest

Deep Patel is a serial entrepreneur, marketer and best-selling author of A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success. Recognized as a top 25 marketing influencer by Forbes, Patel has worked with VC-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He is also a contributor at Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post and Forbes.

Standing up for yourself sounds like a fairly straightforward act wherein you know who you are, set limits on who and what you’ll tolerate, pick your battles, and start no wars.

But when current consensus blares that you must “stand your ground” or “make yourself great again,” what does standing up for yourself look like?

1. Know Who You Are

Who are you standing up for? If you had to describe yourself and your inner character to a stranger, would they get a sense of who you are?

Right off the bat, it’s crucial to know that an opinion is not necessarily your identity. We get swayed to think one way or another and, because of the myth of the rugged individual, we easily manage to convince ourselves that the thoughts are ours.

Protect what’s yours, right?

Except, quite often, our own opinions don’t sit well with our selves.

Isn’t it foolish standing up for a façade?

Instead, practice mindfulness. There are readily available books, videos, and websites to get you started.

Mindfulness helps free ourselves from the ever-active Id, and in doing so allows us to see – and appreciate – who we really are.

When you appreciate yourself, you stand up for yourself, not a pasted-on version of you.

2. Set Limits

No matter how helpful you are, there will always be somebody who thinks they can bully you into doing more, giving more, and being more.

Standing up for yourself means setting limits so that you’re not a bag of depletion, which can lead to being a bag of anger.

If you’re a work-from-home type who’s often interrupted by people asking if you wouldn’t mind running errands for them (since you’re not at “work”), letting them know your office hours are such-and-such will work wonders for your backbone’s health.

Let lovers know what you like and dislike. Let friends know what is and is not acceptable.

Most of the people in your inner circles will accept that your time is not infinite, nor are your resources inexhaustible.

Saying no to others isn’t a sign of selfishness or meanness, whereas anyone who expects a yes out of you at all times is definitely indicative of something unpleasant.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

As in all things, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Standing up for yourself is no different.

It’s even helpful to start at the source: you.

Standing up for yourself often means doing a tango with the face in the mirror. Standing up can be as simple as overriding that negative voice that says “Why bother?” when you’re excited and motivated to make positive changes.

Eat that fruit instead of that handful of gummy bears!

Eschew the incessant demands of social media for the quiet bliss of alone-time and a book!

Standing up to yourself helps you stand up for yourself.

4. Know Your Rights

Since countries unfathomably define rights as though fashion statements (what’s in, what’s hot, what’s couture!), we’ll clarify this by saying “Your Human Rights.”

You have the right to be respected. Recognize that.

You have the right to be cared for and loved. Recognize that.

You have the right to understanding and empathy.

You have the right to fail.

You have the right to succeed.

You have your right to silence.

You were born with the right to bliss.

We could go on and on. No one has the right to treat you badly. No one has the right to harm you. No one should seek to contain, own, or otherwise neglect you.

We’re human, none of us more human than another. Beware those who live their lives as if being a fist is a badge of honor.

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5. Learn The Value Of Silence

Know the old saying “Speak softly and carry a big stick”? Take that a step further: speak softly – and sometimes not at all – and people may come to respect and admire your restraint.

There’s something to be said about the warrior who throws no blows, or the sensei whose sword never leaves its scabbard, or that quiet kid in school who never got picked on because people appreciated her quietly off doing her thing.

They were able to stand up for themselves without extra effort because people knew not to provoke them out of silence.

That, too, can be you.

6. Body Language

Standing up for yourself can actually be as simple as literally standing up… straight!

Body language plays a huge role in how people choose to interact with us. Slouching, hand-wringing, barely making eye contact with others – all contribute to situations wherein you may be treated in such a way as to have to stand up for yourself.

The good thing about body language is that these are habitual responses, not ingrained. You can train yourself out of them to present a much more confident, resolute you.

7. Pick Your Battles

As stated at the opening, life can seem like an open call to war re-enactors. Everyone is fighting either an old war or someone else’s war.

Not every interaction is one where your fortitude is being called into question. Those who feel they must incessantly defend either themselves or a position they’ve latched on to might think they’re being assertive, when in reality they’re jerks.

Don’t be a jerk. Don’t feel the need to jump to your feet, ‘splain, pontificate, refute, and/or chest beat at every opportunity. You’ll come off as insecure when you imagine you’re direct; insufferable when you feel you’ve scored a personal point.

Defensiveness is not appealing, no matter how much it may want to dress itself up as “standing up for” itself.

Offensiveness is doubly ugly.

8. Be Honest

Honest people generally have an easier time standing up for themselves because they don’t waste precious energies protecting elaborate facades.

This counts in relationships, this counts at work, even in random encounters with strangers at the grocery checkout.

If you’re honest in your beliefs and approach to the world, standing up for yourself is simply a matter of stating XY and leaving others to do with it what they will.

You won’t feel a need to sway to make yourself feel larger; to out-talk someone in order to denigrate them; not even to assert yourself so that others can’t take advantage of you.

As with the silent person, you’ll find that under honesty’s umbrella you don’t come up against a lot of instances where people decide to use their whims as a means to knock you down.

9. Chew, Don’t Swallow

How many times have you bit your tongue rather than voice your mind? This is unhealthy in so many ways, but for the purposes of self-gumption, it’s incredibly self-defeating.

If you’re the type to swallow your words rather than chew and digest the meat of an interaction, take a deep breath, realize that nothing reasonable coming out of your mouth is liable to be met with horror, and speak.

Things left unsaid are the number one self-saboteur of otherwise healthy, normal interactions, including disagreements.

Speak up and stand up for yourself by finding ways to say what’s on your mind that best suit you and your needs.

This is done by listening instead of reacting; digesting instead of trying to hold so much in that it eventually – and, often, as unpleasantly – comes vomiting out as verbal and emotional bile.

“But hang on a minute,” I hear you cry, “you said earlier to embrace silence. Which is it?”

Good question. Well, in the earlier instance, it was all about displaying strength without having to go on the verbal offensive.

Here, it means being willing and able to speak candidly in order to make your wishes or opinions known to others. It’s about the ability to communicate effectively with others so as to avoid confusion or misunderstanding.

Big difference.

Standing up for yourself need not be a Herculean undertaking. Actually, it shouldn’t be, because if it is, there’s something out of whack with your life’s track.

There will always be times and people that test us; people who whiff out vulnerabilities and pounce to attack.

But realizing first and foremost that you owe no one more of you than you’re willing to give is a way to give yourself a huge standing ovation, and to dramatically decrease the number of times you’re likely to be pounced on.

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Nothing terrifies me more than being so close to someone and then watching them become a stranger again

By Rania Naim Updated October 23, 2018 How To Stand Up For Yourself… By Rania Naim Updated October 23, 2018

Stand up for yourself because no one else will stand up for you. No one else will defend you when people do you wrong. No one else will explain your intricacies as well as you do. No one else will protect your passion and your values as much as you do. No one else has that power but you. You’re the only one who can set the tone for how people treat you.

Stand up for yourself because it teaches people how to treat you. You draw the line. You set the rules and you dictate what they can or can’t get away with. You teach them what you accept and what you don’t. You don’t have to stay quiet when someone hurts you or humiliates you.

Stand up for yourself because it’s your basic human right. You’re not being mean or immature when you stand up for yourself. You don’t have to let everything go to be the bigger person. It’s not a crime to speak up, to let people know they hurt you, to walk away from people who constantly offend you with their words or their actions and it’s not a crime to remember your worth and remember that you deserve to be treated with respect. It’s your right to put an end to certain behaviors you can’t tolerate.

Stand up for yourself because you’ll need it. You’ll need it when your values are being questioned, when people are accusing you of things you didn’t do, when people are being rude and condescending just because they can. You’ll need it when people are trying to bring you down, when they’re trying to break you and when they’re trying to make you feel like a failure. You’ll need it when people are trying to make you feel like you’re not good enough.

Stand up for yourself because it’s vital to your happiness. If you want to be happy, you need to be strong enough to stand up to others; whether friends, family, coworkers or people you’re dating. You’ll never be happy if you’re surrounded by people who make you feel inferior or don’t bring out the best in you. Self-love is crucial to happiness but also feeling loved and appreciated from the people around propels you to do great things and live a robust life because when you’re always motivated, inspired and valued, there’s really nothing you can’t conquer.

This is how to stand up for yourself.

How to Speak Up for Yourself with Wisdom and Courage

Source: Julie McMurry/

Do you find it hard to speak up for yourself? Are you afraid of what might happen if you say how you really feel?

If you spent a lot of your life around unsafe people, at some point you probably decided that it’s better to stay silent about things that matter to you. In certain situations this is adaptive, but for most it isn’t.

It is time to break your silence?

Practice identifying whether it’s wiser to speak up or stay silent

If you, like me, tend to stuff your feelings and needs to avoid conflict or stay invisible, it’s a given that you need to speak up more.

A wise friend on LinkedIn made this comment on a post I’d written on this subject:

“Time, audience, tone of voice and truth.”

When you identify that you need or want to say something, run it through these filters:

1) Is it a good time?

Will there be enough time to properly discuss it? Will you have the other person’s full attention? What kind of mood are they in? What kind of mood are you in?

2) Will this person listen?

Know your audience. I hope most people in your life will be willing to listen to you, and care about what you need to say. If not, you need to get some new people.

Sometimes difficult people are fixtures in our lives. This could be an insensitive boss, or a chronically unkind family member.

This type of person may have demonstrated repeatedly that they will not listen to you and don’t care. It’s generally unwise to express yourself to someone like this, unless the circumstances leave you no other option. Save your breath, your dignity and your emotional energy. A trained counselor can help you navigate this type of situation.

3) How can you speak, in order to be heard?

Tone of voice, as my friend mentioned, is key. I’m emotional, so it’s best I wait for a better time if I’m feeling off kilter. If I start getting upset during a difficult conversation, I’ll take a time out and reengage when calm. I’m working on the skill of speaking calmly and respectfully, even if I’m really angry or frustrated about something.

Sometimes the truth will suddenly come out during an emotional exchange, and that can be a good thing. It’s still more ideal to speak your truth while calm. Cultivate a tone of voice that helps you to be heard, respected and well received.

Know Your Truth

Before you speak up, get clear about what it is you need to say and why.

1) Pay attention when you feel resentful.

Ask yourself why. Get clear about what is bothering you and why you need to speak up. Plan how you might express this effectively. Then choose your timing well.

2) Identify when you need to say no

Are you someone who needs to learn to say no? In a situation where you feel pressure to say yes, but want to say no, clarify your “why”. You don’t have tell the other person why. If you know why you have to say no, it will help you find the strength and the words.

3) Honor your emotions

If you shove down your emotions, notice that habit. What is the emotion you are avoiding or hiding? Practice identifying the truth of your emotions, and the way you hide them from others. What are you missing out on, because of this? How are you and your relationships suffering? When you are ready, if the situation is safe, start telling key people how you really feel.

4) Get wise help and support

As I mentioned, a good counselor can be very helpful with all of this. Together you can uncover and explore your most important truths, and the people you need to say things to. They can help you formulate how and when to share these truths in real life. A wise friend or mentor can do the same thing.

If you’ve spent a lifetime pretending and hiding, it can feel really awkward and messy when you start to speak your truth. It’s still worth it.

It takes too much energy to hold all that truth inside.

What a relief it is to be real, when you find the courage and wisdom to do it.

Copyright Dr. Susan Biali Haas 2018

How to Speak Up for Yourself More (Without Becoming Unlikable)

A few years ago, I was tasked with creating a standard PowerPoint presentation that my company would use at a variety of events and conferences.

Needless to say, I was really putting my all into it, determined to prove that I could handle an assignment of this size. I was already up to my eyeballs in fonts and statistics when my boss dropped by my desk and said, “Turns out we need this presentation sooner than expected! Can you have it done by the end of the week?”

My internal monologue went a little something like this: “Absolutely not, you crazy person! Unless you expect me to live here, there’s no way I can get this done that far ahead of the original deadline.”

But, what came out of my mouth? Something along the lines of, “Absolutely! Not a problem.”

Following that dishonest exchange, I worked ridiculous hours to get that presentation wrapped up in time. I arrived early, ate lunches and dinners at my desk, and took work home with me late in the evening. It was torture.

Sigh. Can you relate? Have you put yourself in a similar situation because you didn’t want to stand firm and speak your mind?

You’re not alone. It’s tough to speak up and advocate for yourself, even when you know it’s important. None of us want to be viewed as unhelpful, uncooperative, or defiant. So, we grit our teeth and bear it—even when we know we should be standing up and saying something.

Fortunately, there’s a tactic that you can use to voice your concerns, opinions, and even disagreements—without seeming totally unlikable. It’s called “perspective-taking.”

What is Perspective-Taking?

You’ve heard all of the clichés about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. But, that doesn’t change the fact that this is difficult to do, as social psychologist, Adam Galinsky, points out in his TEDx talk.

During his talk, he asks audience members to draw the capital letter “E” on their own foreheads. Go ahead and try it for yourself right now.

Of course, there are two different ways to draw this letter. One method is entirely self-focused, meaning that it looks like an “E” to you. The other is the perspective-taking “E,” as it looks correct to another person.

Which way did you draw your “E”? If you took the self-focused route, don’t feel bad—it’s practically human nature. “We often get self-focused,” says Galinsky, “And we particularly get self-focused in a crisis.”

But, perspective-taking is a way to challenge those natural tendencies. Using this approach, you step outside yourself in order to comprehend something from someone else’s viewpoint—because, as you likely already know too well, context can play a huge role.

Perspective-Taking in Action

To illustrate this point, Galinsky shares an interesting story about a man who threatened to blow up a bank unless the manager gave him $2,000. In that moment, the bank manager took his perspective and realized that he was asking for a very specific sum of money.

When she asked him why he needed that exact amount, he explained that his friend would be evicted unless he helped him get $2,000. At that point, the bank manager was able to state that he didn’t need to rob a bank—he simply needed to take out a loan.

This story might generate a chuckle from the audience, but the point is still clear.

“Now, her quick perspective-taking defused a volatile situation,” Galinsky states, “So when we take someone’s perspective, it allows us to be ambitious and assertive, but still be likable.”

That last part is crucial. Seeing things from both sides gives you the power to stand firm, without seeming stubborn or obstinate.

In hindsight, I should’ve taken my boss’ perspective and inquired about why he needed the presentation by the end of the week. What was happening at that point in time that required this project to be done?

Had I asked these questions, I would’ve realized that he really only required a few slides that contained specific economic impact statistics—meaning I could’ve prioritized that small portion of the presentation and saved myself a lot of stress, time, and tears.

Speaking up and advocating for yourself might never seem like second nature—particularly if you’re used to rolling over.

But, if you take a moment to understand where the other person is coming from, you’ll be much more empowered to voice your opinion in a way that’s constructive, rather than argumentative (switching this one small word can help with that too!).

Give it a try for yourself the next time you need to stand your ground. I’m willing to bet you’ll be pleased with the results!

Is It Difficult For You To Speak Up For Yourself In The Moment, Because You Don’t Know What To Say? Here’s What To Say
Without Causing More Conflict

by Margaret Paul

Do you have trouble speaking up for yourself?

How often have you had the experience of not knowing what to say in the midst of a conflict, or when a friend says something biting or condescending?

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Later, after thinking about it, you think of all the things you wish you would have said. You get angry about it. You stew about what a jerk that person was. If it’s your partner, you may even go back to them to try to deal with the issue, only to discover that it’s too late because your partner doesn’t understand what you are talking about.

You try to explain to them that they had a condescending tone, or they gave you a weird look, or they dismissed you with their body language. It doesn’t help. Maybe they don’t remember or they get defensive and tell you that you’re imagining things.

But you weren’t imagining things! What they did was hurtful. So why couldn’t you say anything as it was happening? It’s almost as if your mind when blank at a critical moment.

This is a very common problem. If you can relate to it, keep reading, because in this article I’m going to explain why you have trouble speaking up for yourself, and what to do the moment you find yourself in a situation where you feel your hackles going up when you’re being treated poorly or unfairly by a loved one.

The Common Reasons Why You Don’t You Speak Up For Yourself

My counseling clients often complain to me about interactions they had with a partner, friend, parents, or co-worker and how annoyed they felt about it after the fact.

When I ask them, “Why didn’t you speak up for yourself in the moment?” here are the most common answers I receive:

“I want to keep the peace.”

“I don’t want to rock the boat.”

“I didn’t know what to say.”

“It won’t change anything.”

“He/she won’t listen.”

“We will just end up fighting.”

“He/she will make it my fault.”

Later, after they’ve had a chance to think back on the interaction, they get upset because they mull over what they should have said and feel bad about themselves as well as feeling bad about what their loved one said.

Their anger grows, and if they try to bring up the issue later, they just blow up at their friend or loved one, instead of just speaking their truth in an non-emotional way.

Here’s a case-study from my private practice of how this typically unfolds…

The No-Win Pattern Of Not Knowing What To Say In The Moment, Feeling Hurt, Getting Angry, Then Blowing Up Later

“Charlie” is in his early 70’s and has been married to “Esther” for 43 years. Charlie and Esther love each other very much, but there has always been a problem in their marriage, and Charlie finally decided to get some help with it.

The issue is that Esther often speaks to Charlie with a harsh, demeaning, parental tone. All these years, Charlie’s way of dealing with this has been to comply—to be the “nice guy” and try to keep the peace.

But occasionally, he suddenly blows up, telling her to shut up, and scaring and hurting Esther.

She has asked him over and over to tell her what’s upsetting him so much, but when he has, she doesn’t listen and turns it back onto him. In his mind, he has been in a no-win situation. The last blow-up led Charlie to seek my help.

The problem is that Charlie had never said anything to Esther in the moment about her tone. When he did say something, after the fact, Esther would have no idea what he was talking about, so she would explain, defend, and turn it back on him.

In other words, when Charlie decided to speak up for himself later, it ended up in more conflict.

The reason Charlie couldn’t speak up in the moment is because he claimed he didn’t know what to say in the moment. When I dug further into what he felt inside as Esther spoke to him in a harsh, demeaning tone, he said he felt “small and diminished, like I did when my father would criticize me. It hurts me.”

I asked him, “Charlie, if you were to say something in the moment, not about what she is saying, but about how she is saying it, what would you say?”

“I’d say, ‘Your tone of voice is harsh and diminishing and it hurts me,’” he responded.

“Great! Would you be willing to say this the next time Esther is harsh with you?”


The next week, Charlie reported that he and Esther had a great week together. He had quietly responded the way we had rehearsed, and he was shocked at how Esther responded. Instead of getting angry, defensive, explaining, or attacking, she said, “You’re right. I’m sorry. Thank you for telling me.”

Get Unstuck from Unhealthy Patterns

Busting The False Assumption That You’ll Make Things Worse If You Speak Up For Yourself

Charlie was so surprised and relieved when Esther responded with an apology and gratitude.

All this time Charlie was certain that if he spoke up for himself, things would get worse. Instead, he discovered that Esther was very open to hearing his feelings and experience when it was in the moment, and was thrilled that he finally spoke up for himself.

Here’s the take-away for you:

Telling others what they are doing wrong or trying to get them to stop doing what they are doing will generally lead to a difficult interaction—especially after the fact.

But speaking up for yourself with the intent of taking loving care of yourself will make you feel much better, even if the other person doesn’t hear you.

That’s because taking loving care of your “inner child”—that part of you that remembers feeling hurt, belittled, or criticized by parents, teachers, and caregivers when you were a young child—is the key to empowering yourself as an adult. I call this putting your loving adult in charge.

The way you put your loving adult in charge when someone hurts you is to pay attention to your feelings and then speak your truth about how their words are making you feel.

When you do this, you are hearing yourself, and paying loving attention to your needs, and this is what is important.

And if you phrase things a certain way, you might be surprised at how the other person responds!

That’s why you’ll want to know…

What To Say When You Need To Speak Up For Yourself

As I stated, trying to talk about a difficult or painful situation after the fact generally doesn’t get anywhere, or leads to even more conflict.

The challenge is to respond in the moment, but we often don’t know what to say in the moment because we have rarely seen people demonstrate speaking up in the moment from their loving adult.

More often we’ve seen people speak from their wounded inner child, like Charlie did, and say things like:

“Shut up!”

“Stop telling me what to do!”

“I don’t care what you think!”

So what can you say instead in order to be a loving adult to your inner child?

Let’s say your partner is making a statement that feels to you like a guilt-inducing statement. What are some of the things you can say to take loving care of yourself? In order to say these things without an attacking energy, you need to be clear that your intent is to learn and take care of yourself, not to control your partner.

There needs to be kindness in your voice, not hardness.

“It sounds like you want me to feel guilty. Is that your intent?”

If your partner says, “No,” then you can say, “Good! I’m glad to hear that. It sure sounded that way to me, and it makes me sad to think that you would want me to feel guilty.”

How would your inner child feel if you spoke up for yourself like that?

Would your inner child feel protected, loved, and HEARD?

You’d probably agree the answer is yes. And when your inner child feels protected, loved, and heard, you react less to what others say about you and you focus less on what others may think. The anger dissolves. Patience and curiosity replaces feeling angry or offended.

When you act as your loving adult, you don’t need anyone’s love or approval to feel worthy or important.

Instead, you are secure in the love and regard you have for yourself, so you can’t help but share that love with others. When you have so much love within, you’re no longer needy.

Those are just a few of the benefits you’ll experience when you stand up and speak up for your inner child.

How To Stay Centered And Powerful When Someone Is Criticizing, Insulting, Or Blaming You

For many people, it’s difficult to stay centered, open-hearted, and powerful when someone is saying hurtful things in a condescending tone.

You get angry or anxious, and you clam up.

If you do manage to speak up for yourself, you might find that you are relaxed and joyful afterward. That feels so good, you wish you could do that more often.

These feelings of anxiety, anger, or relaxed joy arise from inner guidance, either letting you know whether what you are doing and thinking is right for you, or letting you know that you need to compassionately nurture yourself.

And in the case of speaking up, maybe you find that, more often than not, you are in need of compassionately nurturing yourself.

That’s where the process that I teach in my Wildly, Deeply, Joyously In Love 30-Day program is so helpful and transformative.

I call this process “Inner Bonding.” It is a 6-step process which helps you get in touch with and take responsibility for all your feelings, so you can take loving care of yourself and set healthy boundaries with the people close to you.

Then, on day 21 of my 30-day program, you’ll also learn 11 different ways to phrase your response in the moment when someone is blaming you, wanting you to change, trying to intimidate you, giving you the silent treatment, and more.

After you go through my 30-day program, you’ll find that you are more in touch with how you’re feeling at any given moment, so you can speak up for yourself much quicker than in the past.

With consistent practice of all the skills you’ll learn in my program, you’ll be able to do more than just speak up for yourself. You’ll also learn how to heal fear, limiting beliefs, anger, shame, guilt, aloneness, depression, anxiety, addictive behavior, and many relationship problems.

You can begin the 30-day video program today, and get the Inner Bonding process too, totally risk-free here:

Start the 30-Day Program Today

You don’t have to be held hostage to anyone’s hurtful words or behavior. You can learn to speak up for yourself and do it in the moment, when it really counts. That will make all the difference in how you feel about yourself and how others treat you.


P.S. Do you know how to hear someone say “no” or give you feedback on your behavior without taking it personally?

Many of us don’t. That’s because we have a “wounded self” that always fears abandonment or engulfment, based on how our parents or caregivers treated us as children. In my program, Wildly, Deeply, Joyously In Love, you’ll learn how to give loving care to your wounded self, so you’re no longer overreacting, flying off the handle, or protecting yourself with sarcasm at perceived slights.

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Be Assertive: How to Stand Up for Yourself

Coulda, woulda, shoulda: these are the worst words you can think of when you walk away from a confrontation without speaking up for yourself. Your friends, family, or even your co-workers may tell you that you need to be more assertive, stand up for yourself. But how do you go about developing assertiveness?

Assertiveness Defined

“What we use in some of our courses is this definition: Assertiveness is a behavioral style of communication in which a person expresses her thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs in a clear, direct, and honest manner while respecting the rights and needs of others,” says Susan Zeidman, who oversees assertiveness training for the American Management Association, based in New York City.

“Basically, it’s saying what you need to say respectfully,” she explains, adding that this can be difficult for some people who get emotional. “People who avoid confrontation are more passive in their approach to things — hoping the problem will go away or that they won’t have to say something.”

Assertiveness is an important skill when you are trying to build relationships, negotiate tasks and responsibilities, or work together with other people in a variety of settings. Assertiveness, once you get the hang of it, can:

  • Help you communicate better
  • Give you confidence
  • Help you make decisions
  • Increase other people’s respect for you
  • Help you stay true to your beliefs and goals

Do You Need to Be More Assertive?

Zeidman says that if you are dissatisfied with the personal and professional outcomes in your life, you may need to be more assertive.

“If you’re walking away from too many interactions and conversations saying, ‘I shoulda said this,’ ‘Why did I let that get away from me,’ ‘Another meeting where so-and-so stole my idea,’ or ‘I got dumped on again,’ frequently it has to do with communication,” says Zeidman. “The ability to say no and be respected is tremendous.”

Tips for Being Assertive

If you want to take a trial run at assertiveness, try these tips the next time you are in a situation where you need to be honest about your feelings or needs:

  • Know what outcome you want to achieve
  • Pick a moment when you are emotionally in control
  • Practice what you want to say
  • Sit or stand comfortably where you can look directly at the person to whom you are speaking
  • Use statements beginning with “I” to explain your feelings about the situation. For example, instead of saying, “You never check with me before making plans” say “I feel ignored when you make plans without consulting me first.”
  • Be direct and honest about your feelings, goals, and intentions
  • Say no to unreasonable demands and offer an explanation if it is appropriate. There is no need to apologize or offer excuses.

Zeidman recommends an approach that focuses on stating the impact of another person’s behaviors.

“If you’re always aware of what is the impact of this situation on us, me, you, the organization, the family, then people start to see you and the communication quite differently,” she says. Sit down with the person in question and then give them an example of the behavior that is problematic for you, and then describe the impact on you. “After you the impact of what’s happening, you ask them to make a change with you. How can we change this? How can we make this better?” suggests Zeidman. This approach makes the people in your life partners in improving the situation.

Assertiveness won’t guarantee that you get everything you want every time. But you will feel more in control and less stressed over the situations that used to cause you problems.

Learn more in Everyday Health’s Emotional Health Center.

What does “stand up for yourself” mean?

1. Definition (expr.) defend yourself, be strong when facing a conflict, fight for yourself, defend your opinion or point of view, protect yourself from danger, support yourself in a difficult situation

Examples “Danny is such a wimp, he never stands up for himself. He lets people treat him so badly!”

Examples “It doesn’t matter how mean Jeff is being to you, you need to stand up for yourself and tell him that he’s not going to hurt you anymore. You need to take control of your life and make yourself happy. He’s never going to change.”

Examples “I have a lot of respect for Andrew. A lot of people are mean to him, but he always stands up for himself and tells them to leave him alone. He’s a really strong kid.”

Examples “I was so angry because my co-workers were always so mean to me. Finally I had to stand up for myself and tell them that I would quit if they continued to be so mean.”

Examples “It doesn’t matter how mean Jeff is being to you, you need to stand up for yourself and tell him that he’s not going to hurt you anymore. You need to take control of your life and make yourself happy. He’s never going to change.”

Examples “I don’t know why the teacher always picks on you. Maybe she just thinks you could be doing better. I think you need to stand up for yourself and tell her that you’re doing your best and that she should stop being mean to you.”

Examples “I know I’m a good person, but for some reason I always let people treat me badly. I need to learn to stand up for myself so people stop taking advantage of me.”

Examples “I don’t know why the teacher always picks on you. Maybe she just thinks you could be doing better. I think you need to stand up for yourself and tell her that you’re doing your best and that she should stop being mean to you.”

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