I can be a bit stubborn at times. I can be bossy and overbearing. I can be indignant and flat out rude. All of those personality traits have gotten me in trouble many times, and I had to go back and apologize.
But I will never apologize for sticking up for myself.
Many times, I’ve had to choose to stick up for myself or keep my mouth shut to keep the peace. I am sad to say that, even with my big personality, I turned and walked away from a situation without saying a word. I swallowed the feelings and pushed down the emotions that ran rampant inside of me.
And then something clicked.
I can’t put my finger on exactly when it happened, but there came a point in time as a woman, wife and mother I said “no more.” It wasn’t that people in my life were deliberately stepping over me, but I allowed them to because I wasn’t willing to rock the boat.
Any spouse can understand that sometimes your partner does something that makes you mad or disappoints you. Communication is key to my marriage and I’m thankful to have a husband that is always willing to hear me out. However, even knowing this, I would keep quiet for no good reason at all.
As a mom, I know those cute little ones can easily step all over you if you allow it. I want to say that it gets easier as they age, but, with a teenager, pre-teen and kindergartner in my home, that’s not the case. I constantly have to stand up to my kids when they choose to not do their daily chore or conveniently “forget” even though they have had the same chore for months. Instead of doing the chore for them, I make them fulfill their responsibility.
And you don’t have to be a parent or spouse to stick up for yourself. There are plenty of situations where you will need to defend yourself with a friend, co-worker, neighbor or boss. There are times when sticking up for yourself is necessary even when you don’t know the other person at all.
On the other hand, sometimes you need let things go. I get that. I have done that many times. However, sometimes I have let things go on far longer than they should have because I was afraid to say anything.
This can happen a lot in business. I have had to stand up for myself, both as a writer and as a business owner, in order to feel comfortable providing more services to a client. Situations seem to come to a crossroad when you can no produce services that feel unfair. It can be scary, in the business sense, because you are refusing income, but you would ethically be doing a disservice to yourself by going forward.
Sticking up for yourself doesn’t need to be rude or abrupt. When you can step back, evaluate the situation and come back around to communicate your thoughts and needs, it has more impact. A thoughtful conversation or even a nicely worded email can get your point across much better than aggressive confrontation would ever do.
Sticking up for yourself may feel awkward at first, but I never regret making my opinions and needs known. If anything, standing up for yourself generally forms a bridge of communication between you and the other party, making it easier for future conversations. If someone knows where you stand on an issue, you will most likely be met with respect and care.
There may be times when you regret the way you handle it, but rarely will you regret choosing not to stay silent.
Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. Visit her website at www.mamabearmoxie.com.
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