Being able to live a dignified life is a basic human right. Everybody deserves respect but having said that not all give you the respect you deserve. And in this fast-paced world, you are sometimes the only person who will be bothered about you and take care of your needs. So, taking a stand for yourself becomes imperative to keep your sanity and progress.
It could be anything from standing up against bullying in school or the workplace or at home to advocating for oneself in a negotiation or even setting boundaries in familial or personal relationships.
Taking a stand for yourself is a powerful journey that honours your values, asserts your needs, and establishes healthy boundaries. In Nepali society where you are bound by the social convention and notion of being respectful, cordial and disciplined, taking a stand for yourself gets even harder. But, by developing self-awareness, you can navigate challenging situations with grace and resilience. It is easier said than done, but here are some ways that you can build the mental strength to get some steps closer:
Understand why taking a stand matters
This is where you should start as a lot of people do not even realise or acknowledge where to take a stand.
Taking a stand for yourself is not just about getting what you want or need. It is about asserting your worth and value as a person. It empowers you to create a better life, attract positive relationships and opportunities and become a role model for others.
With clear communication, you can overcome all. With confidence and assertiveness, it is very important to express yourself. Avoid being too aggressive or too passive, but establish boundaries and communicate that to the person in front of you.
Standing up for yourself is crucial for personal growth and well-being, as not doing so can lead to feelings of inadequacy and resentment. To take a stand, understand your worth, overcome fear, practice setting boundaries and reflect on past situations where you did not stand up for yourself. It might require a certain amount of energy and resilience, but it is for you.
Self-advocacy is standing up for oneself and advocating for personal needs and beliefs. It plays a vital role in personal growth and well-being. However, there are challenges to overcome, such as self-doubt, fear, unclear communication and the need for resilience. In such situations, you can risk falling into patterns of self-doubt, victimhood, complacency and burnout or end up harming yourself physically or emotionally.
You may be stuck in questioning your own worth and value, or worry about how others will perceive you if you speak out. We may also fear the consequences of standing up, such as losing a job, damaging a relationship, or facing rejection. So, valuing your needs and opinions is essential to maintain a healthy sense of self-worth. And you need to convince yourself first.
Think about yourself first
Self-awareness and self-compassion are the foundation of self-advocacy. It involves understanding your values, beliefs and boundaries. By gaining clarity on what is important to you, you can confidently assert yourself. Developing assertiveness skills is critical to effectively communicating your thoughts and feelings. Active listening, using “I” statements, and practising assertive body language enable you to express yourself with clarity and respect.
Treating yourself with kindness and understanding allows you to acknowledge your worth and forgive yourself for mistakes or setbacks. Prioritising self-care is essential for maintaining emotional well-being and resilience. Taking time for rest, relaxation, and activities that bring you joy nurtures your overall well-being and strengthens your ability to advocate for yourself.
Set boundaries, say no
Establishing healthy boundaries is crucial if you want to take a stand for yourself. Setting boundaries here means knowing and expressing what is acceptable and unacceptable in your relationships and interactions. Learning to say no assertively and without guilt or fear of rejection is a powerful skill. Clearly communicating your boundaries and consistently enforcing them helps you protect your well-being and maintain healthy relationships.
You can do this just by practising being transparent and authentic. When taking a stand, it is crucial, to be honest and open about your thoughts, feelings and intentions. This means expressing yourself without fear of judgment or rejection and being true to yourself. It is only when one understands themselves that they can take a firm stance on what they want and what they are willing to tolerate.
Conflict management and negotiation
Conflict is a natural part of life and being able to manage it assertively is essential for you to take a stand for yourself. Effective conflict resolution strategies, such as active listening, seeking win-win solutions, and maintaining respectful communication, enable you to address conflicts with confidence and mutual understanding.
Developing negotiation skills allows you to find compromises and create mutually beneficial outcomes. It is easy to get defensive when someone attacks us, but this only escalates the situation. It is important to consider the impact of one’s words and actions before taking any steps. It is rather advised that you try to stay calm and composed and then wait for the other person to run out of steam and express yourself.
Fear often inhibits our ability to take a stand for ourselves. Identifying and challenging the underlying fears that hold us back is crucial. Negative self-talk and limiting beliefs can be replaced with empowering thoughts and positive affirmations.
Building self-confidence involves practising self-care, setting realistic goals, and celebrating small victories along the way. Taking a stand for yourself does not mean you have to make grand gestures. Instead, focus on small but impactful actions that align with your beliefs and values.
Building a support system is vital for self-care. Surrounding yourself with individuals who uplift and encourage your efforts can provide valuable guidance and emotional support. Mentors, coaches, friends and family, colleagues or support groups can offer insights and perspectives, helping you navigate challenges and strengthen your self-advocacy skills.
And knowing that you have your support system gives you the confidence to lift your head up and take a stand for yourself. Taking a stand for oneself requires a strong sense of confidence and self-esteem, so you can talk to someone and ask for help too.