Standing Up For Ourselves When Others Pull Us Down Is Hard, But We Are Worth It

Standing Up For Ourselves When Others Pull Us Down Is Hard, But We Are Worth It

The journey will not be easy or linear, but we have what we need within ourselves to keep going.
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I know of few things I hate more than awkwardness and tension. I'll do anything to fight it. I put “lol" after very serious messages to make them seem less intense. I use humor to lighten the mood. I let things happen that aren't okay and make myself believe that it “wasn't a big deal."

Except do that for too long, and you'll really get screwed over. Do that for too long, and you'll forget that you are allowed to say no, that you're worth standing up for, that what happened was a big deal and it's okay to admit that.

One of Rupi Kaur's poems says “you pinned / my legs to / the ground / with your feet / and demanded / I stand up."

To say it like my fellow young people: what a mood.

We are allowed to stand up for our needs, even if they don't fit what's “socially acceptable" or done politically. We are allowed to change our minds and avoid time with people who hurt us. We are allowed to say no. One of my favorite quotes is “You can't pour from an empty cup."

But this isn't always easy. We can say no and people ignore it. We can say “I don't want to; that hurts me" and people may say to “put up with it" or make other excuses. We may feel the need to let our boundaries be broken for the sake of other aspects of our mental health that just can't fight anymore.

I understand that some people may fight their hatred of awkwardness and tension by pushing past their boundaries or asking others to do so. At many social functions -- like holidays with family, for example -- it can feel so much easier to try to make sure everyone shows up and “acts normal." Going out of your comfort zone can definitely be a healthy and beneficial thing, but asking others to do so in a way that asserts power and ignores their needs is where I draw the line.

Going forward when someone asks you to stop is definitely not okay. Consent is crucial in so many areas, have that be sharing a story, interacting with someone's body, or whatever else. I believe in the APA Code of Ethics: first, do no harm, and second, try to help. Listen to someone's needs, be with them at the moment, and help how you can.

In trying to work with people who push us, several effective communication strategies exist. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, contains a module called “Interpersonal Effectiveness" that lays out many of these strategies.

For example, DBT provides the acronym “DEAR MAN," a layout of guidelines that can help you obtain what you want. DBT also provides “GIVE" which entails how to keep a relationship and “FAST" on how to maintain self-respect. Many more acronyms, exercises, and information exist -- they're all over the Internet and can be found in bookstores.

But what happens if these don't seem to work? If people mow us over time and time again, if we're too young to truly have any power or means to fight back if we receive the message through these situations that we are unworthy and will continue to feel disrespected?

We fight for ourselves; we do our best. We believe that every step and victory is a big one. We do what we can. We reach out. We refuse to be hard on ourselves or blame ourselves when things don't go our way. We know we deserve the best and don't feel guilty for it.

This journey will not be linear. It will not be perfect, nor will it always feel positive and empowering. However, we will find ourselves stronger with each step. We will hold onto hope and give our time, attention, and love to those who deserve it. It may be awkward, and it may be filled with tension, but it will be worth it, I promise you.

In summary, a quote of Nisargadatta Maharaj:

"All you need is already within you, only you must approach yourself with reverence and love. Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors. Your constant flight from pain and search for pleasure is a sign of love you bear for yourself; all I plead with you is this: make love of yourself perfect. Deny yourself nothing -- glue your self infinity and eternity and discover that you do not need them; you are beyond."

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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I Went From Losing Weight To Lifting Weights, And Now I'm In The Best Shape Of My Life

How a change in my fitness goals changed my life.

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I am in the best shape of my life...or at least I think so, and that's what truly matters.

I look in the mirror and feel confident.

I finally feel comfortable wearing crop tops, and I'm even starting to show visible abs. But getting here has been such a difficult journey filled with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and other physical and mental struggles that hindered my ability to achieve my goals.

I have been on this health and fitness journey for many, many years now. I've been a size 00, a size 12, and every size in between.

Through it all, I have learned so much about myself, as well as fitness and nutrition in general. My biggest takeaway that led me to overcome all these obstacles was learning to let go of my perfectionism. When I'm old, I don't want to look back on my life and realize that I spent it all trying to lose weight. So, I changed my mindset.

My new focus was to be as strong as possible—to lift the heaviest weights, rather than losing the most weight. If you too, want to be in the best shape of your life but have struggled for so long, read my tips below.

1. EAT MORE

I know, it sounds crazy. As women, we are constantly told about diets and cutting calories. If you just want to be skinny, you can do that. But if you want to be strong, you need to eat to be able to put on the muscle.

2. ALLOW YOURSELF TO HAVE CHEAT MEALS

If you have struggled with eating disorders like me, satisfying your cravings will prevent you from having major setbacks.

3. LIFT WEIGHTS

Get your butt off that elliptical and into the weight room.

4. DON'T WORKOUT EVERY DAY

Again, especially if you want to build muscle, you need rest days. These are the days where your muscles are "actually" growing.

5. DON'T RUSH IT

You will not see abs overnight. It takes a long time. But if you want sustainable results, you must treat your body right.

I hope these tips are helpful. With positivity and patience, you can achieve anything.

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