We’ve all taken a seat on the people-pleasing train a time or two. We do things for people we don’t want to do, we accept an opinion we don’t believe, and we allow others to treat us unfairly so that we can keep the waters calm. All this does is sacrifice our happiness to make someone else happy.
While on the surface it may seem smart and even admirable to constantly be doing things for others, there is a time when we must stand up for our needs first. It’s important to our happiness to be compassionate and giving to others, but there’s a fine line between serving others and living a life of servitude.
Our happiness is important. In fact, it’s important enough to warrant a little selfishness on our part. Not the kind that is malicious in intent, but the kind that makes us stronger and more secure in who we are. Standing up for ourselves, when it’s easier to give in, helps us to live in our authentic truth.
Our happiness, and ultimately our lives, are defined by the choices we make. When we allow other people to tell us how to feel, they are making those choices for us, and we are giving away our truth. Life is too short to live a life others want us to live. Giving in is a sign we’ve stopped caring about who we are and who we are capable of being.
It’s time to stop caring about how other people will respond, and stand up for ourselves when we need to.
Here are five times we always need to stand up for ourselves:
When we passionately believe in something.
It’s hard to sit and listen to someone talk about something that goes against what you believe. Yet, we do it all the time because we don’t want to cause a scene, or we don’t think disagreeing will change anyone’s mind. Often, remaining silent gives the impression that we agree with the sentiment. As a result, we are not honoring our truth.
When we passionately believe in something, we should let people know why we stand up for those ideals. We may not change anyone’s mind, but we may change the conversation. This is something that can be difficult to do, so practice the argument and think about the objections beforehand. The more we start letting people know what we believe, the easier it becomes.
When we have a clear goal.
It is so easy to take on a project or do a favor for a friend that is in direct conflict with a goal we’re working towards. Our first instinct is to help others, and while noble, it can detract us from the things that matter in our lives. Always keep sight of the things that really matter, the things that support a happy life. Sometimes it is necessary to say “no” to stay on track for our big goals and stand up for what we believe in.
When we or someone else is being bullied.
Bullying doesn’t just happen on the playground; it happens everywhere. Any time someone becomes adamant that we should do something or think a certain way; we are being bullied. Like most bullying, the real damage is to our emotional well-being. We must learn to stand up for ourselves and others by calling out the behavior and not allowing the loudest or most persistent person to control the outcome of any situation.
When we’re protecting our time.
Time is one of our most valuable assets, and it is a finite resource that can’t be taken back once it’s given. We need time to do the things that are important to us, the things we are called to do. We need time for the people that matter most to us, to take action towards achieving our big goals, and to practice gratitude and be appreciative of all that we are. Every time we say yes, we are saying no to something else. We must make sure we aren’t saying “no” to something that will help us grow into who we are capable of being. It’s okay and even required to say no to protect our time.
When we need to set boundaries.
Some people just don’t understand the boundaries of what is acceptable to one person and what’s not. It’s important to let people know what our personal boundaries are. Let’s create a dialog around what we are comfortable talking about and what we’re not, what we are comfortable doing and what we’re not, and most importantly, what we are comfortable feeling and what we’re not. When we have a clear picture of our boundaries, it becomes easier to honor and stand up for our truth.
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Standing up for ourselves won’t guarantee that we’ll get our way, but we will feel like have more control over the direction of our life.