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5 Situations When You Gotta Stand Up for Yourself

Standing tall...
Doing the right thing.

Just what the fuckity-fuck does that actually mean?

Do you do what’s right for you and screw the next guy? Do you do what’s right for someone else, whatever the cost to you? Or do you do what’s right for society, community, family, work or whoever you work for?

“Right” is prickly like a bouquet of thistle and hedgehog, but I’d argue that doing what’s right is actually nothing more than standing up for yourself when it matters.

Because if you can’t stand up for what you believe in or who you are in the moments that count, there’s no other kind of “right” that matters.

Here are 5 situations where that needs to happen.

1. When someone’s putting you down

Banter’s one thing, but when someone routinely belittles you or puts you down, it’s NEVER OKAY.

Check out the comment thread here to see how people are suffering with this, and then tell me that the best way to deal with this kind of behaviour is to roll over and take it.

If you don’t stand up for yourself when the cost of doing otherwise is to have pieces of yourself chipped away until you’re a shell, then when are you going to?

But here’s a twist.

Standing up for yourself doesn’t always mean you need to confront the person putting you down and tell them “No more”. It might be that you need to stand up and out of the narrative that’s in your head and remove yourself from the story about needing to keep them happy, not wanting to upset them or even believing that you’re not good enough.

Standing up for yourself when you’re being put down is often more about changing your own thoughts rather than someone else’s behaviour.

2. When you can lead

Find yourself whining and whinging because people in charge don’t have a fucking clue?

At work, in government, even at home, it’s the simplest thing in the world to look at the shots that others are calling and tear it all apart.

More difficult, is getting off your arse and leading.

Leading is really just about believing in something enough
to align your behaviour behind it

It’s believing enough in something that you stand up and put your money where your mouth is.

That’s all it is.

It takes real, honest guts, because there’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen. All you have to go on is the fact that it matters to you.

And of course, taking the lead in your own life is how cool shit happens.

3. When you’ll regret it if you don’t

Regrets? I have a few.

Like not having enough faith in myself to date Barbara. Like not grabbing the opportunity to teach Mr Saatchi’s son about computers when I was 15. Like my wild overspending in my 20’s and 30’s.

Unless the things you’ve done include pushing a bishop down the stairs, opening all the cell doors in the high-security wing or tipping a bucket of blood over that odd little thing at the school prom, the saying that it’s better to regret the things you’ve done rather than the thing you haven’t is largely true I think.

Sometimes, life coalesces into a moment that invites you to step up

And whether you step up or stand down, you gotta live with your decision.

So if you suspect that doing nothing will be a decision you might regret, or if you detect the faint whiff of wanting to play it safe because shit’s getting real, then now might be a great time for a different kind of decision.

4. When there’s something real at stake

Dustin Hoffman looking for that damn monkey in Outbreak. Ron and Hermione standing next to Harry Potter when the shit hit the magical fan. Sam L Jackson dealing with those motherflippin’ snakes on the motherhubbard plane.

When things are on the line, some people stand up while others don’t.

This isn’t just about wild fiction or action movie tropes, it’s about real people getting involved because they give a shit.

An injustice in your community that fires you up. A change at work that threatens everyone’s great work. A crisis that threatens to engulf a relationship you care deeply about. A twist you couldn’t predict that’s just screwed up your new passion project. A curveball that knocks your health for six.

I could go on, but life is always ready to test you. To see how you react to new challenges. To see what your mettle’s really made of.

The choice to take a stand in your life is a simple one—either do or you don’t. And while what’s on the other side of that choice is rarely simple or easy, I think it’s the only real option you have, otherwise you’re just letting life flatten you like a muffin under an elephant. Who has a grand piano balanced on his head. With another elephant laying on top of the piano in a slinky red dress.

So, yeah. Pretty flat.

If you don’t stand up for yourself when there’s something real at stake, just when are you going to?

5. When your values could get crushed

Values. They’re the things that live ten thousand feet down inside you that tell you what’s most important in yourself, others or out there in the world.

They’re your compass. Your guide. Your intuition.

There are moments when life presents a situation where your values might be crushed like a late-harvest Gewürztraminer

When the company you work for has a discriminatory hiring policy or immoral sales tactics. When a friend asks you to take sides unfairly or to help them in a project that takes advantage of others. When you’re faced with a choice to tear something down rather than build it up or a choice to keep yourself safe rather than try an exciting new creative outlet.

These values-based choices are everywhere, and standing up for yourself is really just knowing that you have the right and the ability to honour, express and demonstrate what matters most to you.

Exercising that right, is what confidence is all about.

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