Assert Yourself With Confidence: A Guide To Standing Up for Yourself

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  • Confidence is something you work to achieve.
  • There are several techniques for developing assertiveness that can help better self-esteem.
  • Use “I” statements when speaking or communicating; it brings a sense of worthiness and self-sufficiency. 
  • Saying No can restore assertiveness and encourage a positive change in behavior.

If you’ve ever felt like the walls are closing in on your confidence and self-esteem, this article is for you. Research shows that self-esteem can be really beneficial, yet millions of people around the world struggle to find the courage to stand their ground.

But there’s a beacon of light to get a hold of. Standing up for yourself doesn’t necessarily include confrontations or stress triggers. In fact, calmness and objectivity play a huge role in strengthening the perception others get of you, so you’re empowered with a greater sense of being. 

Why It’s Important To Speak Up and Advocate for Yourself

Standing up for yourself is anything but easy, especially if you’ve become accustomed to turning a blind eye to your own needs. Learning how to stand up for yourself is an act of genuine self-care and is a huge step toward improving your overall mental health.

A massive obstacle to asserting your worth is staying passive in times of challenges. Feeling regretful and disappointed are two emotions closely linked to low self-esteem, but there are ways to turn the tables. 

How To Overcome Barriers To Assertiveness

Most of the time, people tend to overreact when debating, inflicting a sense of worthlessness on the other person and creating a rather hostile environment where it’s impossible to stand your ground. And all that is without them knowing they’re inflicting harm on the other person.

To tackle such a problem, regardless of the spark that initiated it, wait it out instead of showing aggression. Remain focused on your breathing and stay calm. Remember that people’s opinions will always differ, and you don’t have to respond right away. Take a mental step back, soak in what’s happening and assess how you feel.

Effective Strategies for Standing Up for Yourself

From establishing your own set of rules for you to follow to learning how to say “No, there is quite a pool of effective strategies to help you stand up for yourself. Let’s review some of the most effective ways that can help you become more assertive and empowered to take a stand for your own good. 

Setting Healthy Boundaries 

Standing up for ourselves does not have to be connected to unpleasant behavior. Setting up healthy boundaries beforehand can minimize the chances of participating in awkward, belittling conversations with people that are unaware they are causing negative emotions.

Communicating Assertively 

Whenever you begin feeling as if you are being mistreated, resort to calmness and approach the person you’re communicating with. We mentioned earlier that sometimes people are unaware of their poor communication that’s negatively affecting people, so try voicing your thoughts calmly and assuringly.

Embracing the Power of “No”

How many times have you said “Yes” when you actually meant “No”?! That two-letter word can be a lifesaver in a lot of situations. Instead of going all out on any requests, favors and errands you aren’t comfortable with, ditch the “Yes” and go with a simple “No.”

There’s nothing wrong with replacing the automated “Yes, sure!” response with a simple “No” when talking to a friend, family member, spouse, coworker—anyone, really. Saying “No” can be utterly satisfying and empowering because it shields your own boundaries and self-worth.

Navigating Difficult Conversations 

Sometimes, you will have to stand up for yourself, but in other cases, you will just have to let it go. The key is to know how to maneuver unpleasant conversations. Be tactful and factual. Say it like you mean it, and approach the conversation confidently. 

Honoring Your Worth

woman with big arms drawing

Nobody can honor you more than yourself. People might love and adore you, but it’s all in vain if you don’t love and adore yourself. You hold the reins to your life, and no one else controls how you act, speak, or carry yourself. 

Recognizing When To Walk Away

If another person makes the environment difficult to be in, leaving is the best you can do. Mastering the art of how to not let things bother you starts with you. Leave the conversation and go outside for a while. Walking out is not surrendering—on the contrary, it’s an act of self-care. 

Applying Assertiveness in Different Areas of Life

Being assertive is often perceived as being rude, but that is far from the truth. Sometimes, it can save you time and preserve your health. Confidence is key to gaining respect in all fields, so don’t be afraid to assert your presence anywhere—at work, in your relationship, or in every day-to-day activity.

Assertiveness at Work

Be clear about your goals and priorities, and convey your thoughts, ideas and concerns clearly and concisely. Use “I” when you want to point out your perspective and show your confidence in it.

Assertiveness in Relationships

Be clear and respectful about your needs and boundaries. At the same time, be open to hearing your partner’s perspective, but don’t neglect your own values and well-being. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, but be willing to compromise when it’s appropriate.

Assertiveness in Everyday Life

“I will stand by you; I will help you through.” Sometimes, having a simple mantra like this can help you push through a tough moment. People may think you’re impolite and stuffy, but at the end of the day, standing your ground for something you believe in—even as small as choosing to drink tea instead of coffee in the morning—will benefit you in the long run.

Practical Tips for Developing Assertiveness Skills

Believing in yourself, knowing your worth and putting yourself first are the cornerstones of a solid assertiveness concept. 

Nurturing Self-Care

“Nobody will take better care of you than you yourself.” – Lois P. Frankel

Indulge in things that bring gratifying feelings and emotions of self-worth. Sometimes dedicating an hour of your day to yourself can bring so much joy and boost your self-esteem. At the end of the day, it’s “stand for something or fall for anything.”

Projecting Confidence

Always say things you mean, but do it in a positive manner that won’t hurt you or the other person. Speak thoughtfully and learn when to leave a conversation. And when you’re not sure about something, don’t push your idea—confidence also means accepting when you’re wrong.

Practice Makes Progress

women talking

Stick to what works for you, and don’t abandon your beliefs. Don’t let little setbacks throw you off your track. Remember, consistency is the key that opens the door to progress.

Standing Up for Yourself Quotes For Inspiration

From “Mama didn’t raise a fool” to “Standing up is believing in yourself!” there are some inspiring standing up for yourself quotes uttered to motivate others to give themselves a fair shot at feeling confident. Here are some of them:

  • “And I not only have the right to stand up for myself, but I have the responsibility. I can’t ask somebody else to stand up for me if I won’t stand up for myself. And once you stand up for yourself, you’d be surprised that people say, “Can I be of help?” – Maya Angelou
  • “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” – Rumi
  • “It’s easy to stand with the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “You will never gain anyone’s approval by begging for it. When you stand confident in your own worth, respect follows.” – Mandy Hale


How do you stand up for yourself when you have anxiety?

First, define what triggers you. Next, practice some calming techniques (deep breathing, for example) and distance your mind from the current situation for a moment. Return to the discussion at hand once you feel ready. And if that’s not the same day, leave it be—there will always be another chance.

How do you stand up for yourself without crying?

woman pointing at the man

Some will burst into tears the moment they start standing up for themselves. To turn the tables, try prepping beforehand and practicing what you want to say. Also, staying on point without drifting into deeper meanings can help.

How do you stand up for what is right?

Believing in yourself is the most empowering feeling to get you to stand up for what’s right. Also, dedication and collaboration can be of great help and bring a sense of belonging and importance to those making a stand.

Conclusion: Empower Yourself Through Assertiveness

It’s quite commonly believed that making other people happy means that you have to sacrifice your happiness. However, those two don’t have to coincide. You can stand up for yourself, refuse to do something that doesn’t sit well with you, and still make others happy.

Empowering yourself always starts with you. Know that building your confidence won’t happen overnight. But with gradual steps, effort and perseverance, your voice will echo your stands. Show up for yourself; it’s an investment in the well-being of your body and soul. 

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