How to Stand Up for Yourself

This post was written by Volunteer blogger Karin via UN Volunteers

How to stand up for yourself?
In life you’ll meet a lot of different people. With some you might not get along and there will be people that will challenge you daily. Times when a friend asked you a favor and you said yes, even though you did not really want to. How many times did you watch a movie you didn’t want to see because a friend pressured you? When was the last time you helped out a classmate with a project and procrastinated on your own? Think about the times you worked overtime for a co-worker and the only thing you wanted to do, was to enjoy your free day. Being too nice can hurt you.

The fear of standing up for yourself
A common misconception that women have about standing up for themselves is that they will come off as aggressive or bitchy. You might be scared of stepping on someone’s toes, to bruise someone’s ego, or to make someone feel uncomfortable. Unless you get rid of those misconceptions your self-esteem will always stay low and you won’t be able to stand up for yourself.

When is it enough?
Have you already reached the point at which you are tired of satisfying your friend’s wishes and to refuse your own? You are no longer living your life but you are trying to make everyone’s easier. Life is too short to take all your co-workers shifts or to watch movies you don’t really want to see. As soon as fulfilling other peoples wishes makes you unhappy and stressed you reached the point where you should learn to stand up for yourself.

Saying “no”
“No” is a powerful word. It is the first significant act towards taking control of your life. It doesn’t make you a stubborn or weak person; it makes you a strong person who knows what you want. Learning to say “no” is the best thing you can do for yourself. It not only helps to control your life, but this little word also gives you respect. The first reaction is often disappointment, but in the end there is a subconscious understanding and admiration.

The consequences
Saying no and expressing your personal opinion will show you who your real friends are. Just those who really accept you, will understand when you are completely honest with them. Saying no shouldn’t be the end of a friendship, but something normal. People who don’t understand that you need time for yourself or you need to focus on your tasks are not your real friends. Another positive consequence is that you will find peace. It is a self-assurance that can only come from learning to let go. Being ok with everything and saying yes is about pleasing everyone else but you. Saying no gives you freedom.

Stand up for yourself!
There is not the one miraculous technique to stand up for yourself. Saying “no” is just the beginning. Further, you need to understand that you are as important as anyone else! Standing up for yourself will increase your self-esteem and help you to cope with problems and people in a better way. So remember: When saying yes to other, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.

You may also like to read:

5 Ways to Be Happy

Living Up to Societies Standards

10 Steps to Living A Safe Life

What I Wish I Knew About Security Back Then


Karin Philippczyk
Karin, 23, is a world traveler currently on search of a new travel goal. She is bilingual, having been raised by a German dad and a French mom - also reason for exceptional and unnecessary strict table manners.  She is studying International Business Administration.

In her own words: "My friends would describe me as spontaneous, happy and highly organized. These traits are probably a consequence from being a full-time nanny in addition to my studies. I use a calendar meticulously; however, my calendar is my brain, which I carry around like a holy book.  Every event/birthday/random appointment will end up in there. I love nights out with friends and reading for hours on rainy days. Additionally, I am a Quarterback on a local American Football Club."


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