Editors Note: This is a fantastic guest post by Stuart Mills of Unlock The Door
“He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.” – Raymond Hull
Standing up for yourself is a trait that people admire in today’s society, even if they hate it when they’re the one that you’re standing up to! It’s admirable because it shows resilience, self-confidence, and a certain element of guts. And aren’t these attributes that everyone wants to have?
It’s a silly question; of course they are. But the reason that most people want to be able to stand up for themselves is because they currently don’t have the ability to do so! If someone challenges them then they’re likely to either fold and withdraw, giving up their defence, or they’ll lash out and start an argument, seeking to undermine the other person at all costs.
Neither of these approaches are beneficial to you.
When you back down from opposition, you give up your self-worth and say to the other, “Your needs are greater than mine”. You let them orchestrate the discussion, and the topic of the discussion, so that their needs are met, but not yours.
It’s like whittling away at wood; the wood gets trimmed down to suit the carver’s needs, but eventually, the wood gets whittled into nothing, a small stump of what it once was. It then gets discarded, as its no longer useful. If you let yourself be whittled away by other people, by ‘carvers’, then you’ll eventually get discarded too. You certainly don’t want that.
At the same time, if you fight back at every sign of opposition, if you defend your corner like a prize-fighter, then you won’t be whittled away. Instead, no-one will come near you for fear of upsetting you! You’ll be like Jake LaMotta from Raging Bull, always lashing out at those who loved him, resulting in nobody wanting to even know him. That was a sad movie, but it doesn’t have to end that way.
What To Do
Learning to stand up for yourself will ensure that other people respect you, they aren’t afraid that you’ll bite their head off, and they won’t try to push you around or whittle you down to suit their own needs. Before I share some tips on developing this trait, I must state that changes will happen gradually, not over-night. Take your time, accept the steady changes as natural, and you’ll improve one step at a time.
1.Speak With Authority
A lot of people have tendencies to mumble occasionally, especially when in high pressure situations. I know I mumble from time to time if I’m nervous. Mumbling is a sign of either having low interest, or being afraid of someone/something.
In other words, it doesn’t convey authority! When you speak with authority, people know. They can hear the changes in your voice, your tone, your speech clarity. They then know that you aren’t there to be pushed around. You will be listened to, and your point will be heard.
How do you speak with authority? Alter your posture to stand taller and more firm. Straighten your back, and keep your head up; as easy as it is to look down, you then lose the focus of the other person. Also, don’t rush into your words; calm down if you’re panicking, and speak slower than usual. Take time to savour each word, and make use of the awareness of each word. The more you utilise these techniques, the more they’ll start to feel natural.
2. Change Your Outlook
Your outlook on life is everything that the rest of the world will see. If they see an unhappy soul, who is just as likely to bite as talk, then they won’t want to talk with that soul, for fear of being unhappy or hurt themselves. However, if you’re bright about things in life, and take everything with a smile, then you’ll encourage everyone else to feel good about themselves. And this is a rare gift indeed.
It’s a law of life that we will want to help others who help us. Nobody will want to whittle away on a tree that gives them good air. So make the decision to assume a positive attitude, especially when dealing with people. People will listen to you if you treat them well, and then no-one has to suffer.
3. Find Help
Just because you’re getting picked on, or you’re having trouble holding back against criticism, doesn’t mean that you’re alone. You aren’t. There are others in this world that are in the same situation as yourself, and some of them have learned to stand up for themselves. You can see it in the way they carry themselves, they’ve learned through experience how to handle their lives.
What’s best is that these people may be willing to help you. I watched The King’s Speech last night, where Colin Firth’s character has a severe speech impediment, and is sorely lacking in confidence. He finds a man, Geoffrey Rush’s character, who has learned how to cure speech impediments with remarkable techniques that ultimately work. I won’t spoil any more of the film, which is truly amazing, but Rush’s character isn’t a doctor, and has no academic credentials; he learned all he knew from experience treating shell-shocked soldiers. He learned the hard way.
And others are like him. Search out people who know about your situation; look on websites and message boards. Ask around on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. Go to your local library. There are people willing to help.
4. Stick Up For Others
Once you’ve got comfortable with sticking up for yourself, and others have realised this, take a look around. The reality is is that there will be other people that are in the same situation as yourself, being picked on or talked down by others who don’t know any better. You know what it feels like to be the victim, and it’s not nice. So stick up for those around you who may be treated unfairly.
Now they may not appreciate you helping them out, and they may tell you so, but secretly, they’ll appreciate having their antagonist off their back. As for the person dishing out the damage, they’ll quickly back down if they’re faced with someone who is willing to stand up to them.
I don’t suggest doing this tip often; word may get out about your actions. But once in a while, if you see someone in need of help, then sticking up for them will make you feel better, and make them feel a little bit better themselves.
Thank you for reading this article, I appreciate your time. Feel free to head over to my place and I’ll make you welcome. A big thank you to Amit for being very kind in publishing this article. I owe him one π