How to stand up for yourself when confronting loved ones

Illustration of a family peacefully discussing politics at the dining table, with newspapers open in front of each person
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For most of my life, I’ve been one of the loudest people in the room. Whether that be simply because I like to talk or because I inherited this trait from my parents, I’ve never been one to be silent — that is, until it comes to sticking up for myself in front of my loved ones. 

Although I have never had a problem with sticking up for myself in front of bullies or people I hardly know, doing it in front of people I love is a different story. There lies a delicate balance of respect and admiration between you and the people you love, and personally, I’ve always been afraid that sticking up for myself will tip the scales. I did not want to start a fight, nor did I want anyone to hate me. So, for most of my life, I chose the easiest and most amicable option: silence. 

However, as most of us know, silence in response to things that are bothersome is never a sustainable option, and eventually the truth comes out. In order to avoid the blow up or building resentment that comes with this “easier” response, I have a few tips on how to stick up for yourself to the people you love because, in truth, your needs ultimately matter just as much as those of the people you love. 

If you feel too emotionally charged to start a productive conversation, make a note for later

Communication is vital in any relationship, and keeping communication open will help the relationship maintain strength and longevity. However, what usually is not mentioned is that the quality of communication matters as well. Arguing and fighting will not benefit any situation. Your feelings are valid and should be communicated in the most beneficial way. So if you feel you are too emotionally charged to adequately communicate what’s been bothering you, make a note for later. And yes, I mean an actual note. It serves as a reminder to look back to once you are feeling better. 

Consider the situation if the roles were reversed

A natural response to a situation where you have been wronged is to undermine the extent of which you were wronged and what you are allowed to feel. This could be seen in claiming you are overreacting or brushing it under the rug after thinking about the situation too much. However, a way that has helped me think about the situation is if positions were reversed: If you had wronged the other person, would you want to know? And would you want the other person to stick up for themselves? The answers to these questions could help you figure out what to say and revalidate your emotions. 

Be honest with yourself and view your needs with importance

The final tip to take note of when you are sticking up for yourself in front of others is to view your needs and feelings with validity and importance. I know this one feels like common sense, but in reality, this may be the hardest tip to apply in everyday life. When you love someone, it’s easy to put their needs over your own. This is neither sustainable nor is it healthy. Remember, you matter just as much as they do, and you deserve to be heard just as much as they do. People who love each other do not disrespect each other. 

Now that you have more insight into sticking up for yourself when confronting a loved one, you can apply your newfound skills in the future. Best of luck!

Contact Isabella Carreno at [email protected].