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6 steps to standing up for yourself

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Confidence is beautiful.

Confidence is beautiful.

A new haircut or a fresh coat of lip gloss can do a lot for your confidence. But the best way to really feel good about yourself is to look at how you let other people treat you. While it is common to worry that standing up for yourself will negatively impact your relationships, it is important to be your own biggest advocate. Speaking up when necessary to ensure that people treat you with respect is an important part of caring for yourself, just like the attention you give your physical appearance. 

Here are six steps to standing up for yourself in a respectful but effective manner: 

1. Define your feelings
Your first step should be to analyze exactly why you're feeling disrespected, hurt or otherwise upset. Are you angry that a classmate spread a rumor about you? Or hurt that a friend didn't follow through on a previous commitment? Whatever it is, remember that your emotions are valid. It's the way that you handle those feelings that can be either healthy or problematic. 

2. Be assertive
Once you've figured out how you're feeling and why, you will need to bring up the problem with the person. This requires assertiveness. 

"Assertiveness is a behavioral style of communication in which a person expresses her thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs in a clear, direct, and honest manner while respecting the rights and needs of others," Susan Zeidman, who oversees assertiveness training for the American Management Association, told EverydayHealth

However, it's important to note that there's a difference between being assertive and being combative. Be sure to consider where the other person is coming from and work on clarifying your position, as opposed to launching personal attacks that won't help resolve the issue.  

3. Take your time
Sometimes standing up for yourself can be uncomfortable. Because of that, you may be tempted to rush through the conversation. However, it's important to take your time to ensure that you have the chance to bring up the points that need to be addressed. 

If you don't get your point across the first time around, don't be afraid to take a step back, collect your thoughts and bring up the issue at another time. There's no statute of limitations on standing up for yourself. If you need to, ask for a five-minute break. Watch the time on your Baby-G pink series watch and then return to the conversation once you've collected yourself. 

4. Communicate calmly
When emotions are running high, you may understandably have a hard time being calm. However, it's important to remain composed. If you become too agitated, you may begin to communicate less clearly.  

5. Define your goals
When standing up for yourself, make sure that you know what you want from the conversation and explain that to the other person. Whether it's an apology or a specific course of action, you may not get what you're looking for if you don't make that goal clear. 

6. Believe in yourself
Finally, develop your confidence by first believing in yourself. You should always be your biggest fan and advocate, especially if someone else is taking advantage of you or otherwise treating you poorly. 

"Assure yourself that—without your consent—no one has the authority to invalidate you," Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D. wrote in an article for Psychology Today. "That, unless you've been in flagrant denial about the facts of the situation, the prerogative to judge the validity of your thoughts and feelings belongs to you alone. And that you hardly need take up arms against someone else's viewpoint."  

You may not always obtain the solution that you want, but when you stand up for yourself you're taking an important step in caring for and respecting yourself.