“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.” — Maya Angelou
The world is full of people who “act” and “react” to situations and circumstances very differently. Some can easily express how they expect and need to be treated in their relationSHIPS, while others can’t. For whatever reason, they find it difficult to STAND UP for themselves. Instead, they will allow family members, friends, spouses/mates, and even supervisors to do and say things they consider offensive without expressing discontent or their true feelings. For them, the very thought of STANDING UP for themselves leads to feelings of trepidation and anxiety. So they CHOOSE to go through life with a don’t “rock the boat” attitude. Yet, they don’t realize that this sends the message that the treatment they’re receiving is acceptable when it isn’t. This “deal with it kind” of attitude simply leaves them with feelings of anger, resentment, and regret. Not STANDING UP for oneself also makes having evolving relationSHIPS difficult. Do you know someone afraid to STAND UP for themselves? Are you afraid to STAND UP for yourself? I am NOT but I know people who are and I don’t understand why. So for this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about the need to STAND UP for ourselves!!!
STANDING UP for ourselves simply put means establishing boundaries for ourselves and more importantly, continuously enforcing and reinforcing them. When we don’t STAND UP for ourselves, we give others the opportunity to take advantage of us. For some people, STANDING UP for themselves isn’t a comfortable experience and the very notion of doing so can be frightening. Last week while watching Project Runway, a contestant was wrought with emotions because of his inability to STAND UP for himself. He and another designer got into a confrontation and a few of the other contestants came to his rescue and alienated her. During the incident, she was outspoken and STOOD UP for herself and he was not. He lacked the ability to STAND UP for himself and cried. Now feeling alone and abandoned, she decided to give up her dream of becoming a fashion designer and left the show, two weeks after it started. As I watched the episode, I began to think about how different it is interacting with someone who doesn’t STAND UP for themselves. Since I am NOT the type of person who is afraid to STAND UP for myself, I’ll admit, I don’t quite understand those who won’t.
Ironically, the same week of the show, I had discussions about this very topic with –a former co-worker and a friend. Both of whom are polar opposites of me. They are both passive and soft-spoken and I am NOT. They both are willing to accept and tolerate more stuff and I am NOT. When my former co-worker and I talked, she explained that she puts up with her supervisor’s disrespect because she needed the job to feed her family and live. She opted not to STAND UP for herself because of her fear of losing her job. Even though I disagreed with her rationale, I understood her perspective and still encouraged her to shut down the disrespect and STAND UP for herself. Later I spoke with a friend, who shared that she too had a difficult time STANDING UP for herself. I was a bit shocked. She spoke about how she had always admired her sister’s strength and mine but didn’t quite have it herself. She indicated that although she does now, she didn’t always STAND UP for herself because, in her relationSHIPS, she avoided discord and confrontation. These conversations gave me some invaluable insights into why some people have a difficult time STANDING UP for themselves.
I recognize that although STANDING UP, expressing, and asserting ourselves should be instinctive for all of us, it isn’t. But it can be!! It may take some practice but learning how to STAND UP for oneself is a journey worth embarking on, especially since we are the ones responsible for teaching others how to treat us. But first, STANDING UP for ourselves requires that we possess the type of confidence that can only be attained from genuinely knowing ourselves. STANDING UP for ourselves validates our worthiness. STANDING UP for ourselves allows us to set boundaries that if we reinforce and apply in our relationSHIPS will lead to deeper connections with ourselves and others. STANDING UP for ourselves reassures our belief that we are perfect just the way GOD created us. STANDING UP for ourselves gives us the ability to confidently voice our wants, needs, and desires. STANDING UP for ourselves allows us to acknowledge and accept that our desires and needs are just as important as those of others. STANDING UP for ourselves is empowering.
Having relationSHIPS with those who can’t STAND UP for themselves may require extra care. They require that we are more understanding, and patient. They require that we be mindful of our tone and how we use our words. For those of us that are NOT afraid to STAND UP for ourselves, these relationSHIPS will teach us how to SIT DOWN so that they can STAND UP!!!
SHIP TALK: Do you STAND UP for yourself? Are you patient with those who are not able to STAND UP for themselves?
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