10 Ways We’ll Stand Up For Ourselves In 2012

I might sound bold on The Frisky, writing opinionated pieces about marriage equality and abortion rights.

In real life, though? I’m more like the cat that runs underneath the bed when thunder claps. Confrontation, expressing anger and all-around rocking-the-boat aren’t really my thing. I repeatedly bite off more than I can chew, get overwhelmed, and hold inside my anger or hurt feelings rather than deal with it in more manageable, bite-sized pieces. I’m working on getting better at it. But it’s uncomfortable and at times scary.

I’m not the only woman who feels this way. In fact, so many of my friends and other ladies I am close to have expressed to me that they’re “non-confrontational.” A lot of this, I think, has to do with our feelings being minimized or dismissed by our parents and family growing up and later on, those patterns are repeated by our loved ones. But it also has to do with avoiding those uncomfortable and at times scary feelings because confronting them head-on just sucks.

Standing up for myself is something I want to do more, not just in 2012, but always. I’ve brainstormed with my Frisky colleagues some ways we’re going to stand up for ourselves in 2012:  

  1. I will tell my friends and family when their teasing crosses the line and hurts my feelings.
  2. When people ask me to do something I don’t want to do or don’t have time for, I will say “no.” Politely, of course, but no excuses or apologies are necessary.
  3. I will make “no” mean “no” — not “okay, fine, if you nag me enough, yes.”
  4. I will say something when another person takes advantage of me or hurts my feelings, instead of silently letting it fester.
  5. If I’m on an awful date/at an awful party/on an awful phone call, there is no need to subject myself to misery. I can just get up and leave/hang up the phone.
  6. I will be more protective of my personal time when it comes to other people’s disorganization and crazy schedules.
  7. I will communicate what I need and why, instead of assuming other people can figure it out on their own. Surprisingly, a lot of people are terrible about understanding other people’s needs, wants and desires unless explicitly told.
  8. When someone makes a racist, sexist or homophobic comment or joke, I will call them out whether it is directed at me or not.
  9. I will refuse to be guilt tripped or join in on other people’s guilt trips. If someone else feels guilty about XYZ and lets that behavior determine their decisions, I don’t have to jump on board, too. Especially if I don’t feel guilty at all.   
  10. I will remind myself every day, if need be, that I’m a smart, sensitive, caring, thoughtful, and good-intentioned person and at the end of the day, loving myself is what matters most.

Following these guidelines isn’t going to be easy, but I’m confident if I start to incorporate more of these decisions into my personal and professional life, they will start to snowball. Standing up for oneself may feel scary or uncomfortable sometimes, but the consequences of not doing so are much, much worse. I deserve better — and you know what? We all do.

Do you have any other suggestions for me or for us? Let us know in the comments.

Contact the author of this post at [email protected] Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.