There are only a few reasons people don’t stand up for themselves and most of them boil down to that you simply don’t want other people not to like you. You don’t want to be that person. The jerk. And you know what, that’s a valid concern. Human beings run in packs and without community, we’re a little adrift. Fair enough…

BUT too often people sacrifice what they want and how they are treated to continue to maintain the status quo and that’s not right. You have every right to stand up for yourself, say no when you want to and defend a position if you feel it needs defence. You don’t have to be walked over by other people to consider yourself a good person. In most cases you’re probably being a ‘poor me type’ and that does no one any good.

So how, when you feel like you’re being walked all over do you stand up for yourself without feeling like a jerk?

Say no and mean it.

I actually wrote a whole post about this one because it’s really, really hard for people. But when you can say no and leave not only other people but yourself feeling good about it, then you’re on your way.

Listen to other people but don’t let them railroad you.

Just because you’re standing up for yourself it doesn’t give you a free pass to stop listening to other people. There is a difference between interacting and sharing ideas and being walked over. You’ll know the difference when you come up against it. Be open to new ideas but don’t feel you have to compromise your own values.

Don’t apologise for yourself.

Unless you’ve done the wrong thing by someone why are you apologising? So you had to say no or don’t want to be spoken down too, then why are YOU saying sorry? There’s no need and it undermines your position. Once you realise that you have nothing to apologise by being yourself, the better. There’s power in that. So watch your words.

Live and let live. 

Not everyone is going to agree with you. You’re not going to agree with everyone. So sometimes it’s better to live and let live. This excludes some things of course. But on the whole, it will make you happier and stronger in your position if you allow people to have theirs. If you were being a jerk you’d use your new-found willingness to stand up for yourself to control those around you. But you’re not a jerk, are you?

Stay calm.

When you feel like someone is taking advantage of you, putting you down or walking all over you stay calm. There’s no point getting emotional or angry, that just hands over your control of the situation. Stay calm, handle it how you planned to handle it. After all most people are pretty difficult to take seriously waving their arms around, sobbing while simultaneously shouting about being wronged. It’s partially your fault anyway, you didn’t say anything until now, so don’t freak out.

Retrain yourself, then retrain those around you.

You have to take some time and work out how it is you want to be treated. It’s time to retrain yourself into this new way of thinking of yourself. Then once you’ve done that, it’ll be easier to retrain those around you. Consider and make a mental note of the things that annoy you, rub you the wrong way and make you feel put down. Set on stamping those out.

Be clear when someone is treating you badly that it is not acceptable.

The best example of this are jokes made at your expense. I know you’re meant to have a sense of humour when it comes to yourself and I encourage that, but if someone says something that is hurtful, whether they are ‘joking’ or not, you have the right to say so. It’s best to do it immediately so that the person knows exactly what you mean. If you’re in a group this might not always be the best time. Just do it as soon as possible afterwards so the situation is clear.

People might call you a jerk, a bitch or a cow anyway.

No matter what you do or how calmly you approach it some people just won’t like it. They enjoyed the fact that they could tease you and make you do what they wanted. Now that it’s over they are a little annoyed. So what can you do? Nothing. Have a little chuckle, congratulate yourself for being so cool and wait for them to come around. If they never do, then you’re better off without them.


Now get out there and assert yourself you big jerk.

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