The Importance of Standing Up for Yourself

how to stand up for yourselfWhat’s the difference between the strong and the weak – between the actions, beliefs, and behavior of those of confidence and expectation, and those without?

And how is it, that my new favorite greeting is “Go f*** yourself”…?

Change is a small thing – an incremental, daily thing.  It consists of the little things you do differently, the smallest improvements in your actions, reactions, and behaviors.

Added together these small changes create the foundation of large change, and suddenly you seem as if a wholly different person.

But you’re not.

You’re the same.

Just different.  Just freer.  Just more yourself – more who you would be without the attachment of caring what others think, or say, or do.

I was once a pushover.

Weak.  Meek.  Passive.  Afraid.

Looking people in the eye was hard enough.

Standing up for myself was simply impossible.

Whether it was running into someone on the street, or inadvertently sitting in another’s chair, one of the most common things out of my mouth was: “I’m sorry.”

For shit I did.  For shit others did to me.  For things outside my control.  For things outside my involvement even.

Not because I owed them one, or because they, in fact, deserved one, but because I thought so little of myself that I felt undeserving of better treatment; of respect or attention, or of consideration of my time, space, and efforts.

I always felt sorry, felt guilty, felt as if my simple existence was in imposition on the better lives of better people.

And everyone seemed better.

And whether I actually mouthed the words “I’m sorry” or not – whether it was actually that type of situation or not – the reality remained that I always felt inferior inside, weaker outside, beta always.

Especially with girls.  But especially with guys – who so often, despite my height, out-weighed and out-muscled me.

I was a pushover.  I was weak.

And it showed itself everyday in those small, small ways.

Looking down when someone looked at me.

Losing my voice when others raised theirs.

Shrinking just the smallest degree when the personalities of others grew bigger, or more intimidating.

Little things.  But little things that, when added up, make one feel as if they’re small and unimportant; as if they’re no one; as if they’re perpetually the little brother to be picked on, bullied, or excluded.

I hated it.

I was disgusted with it.

And it’s a feeling I’ll never forget.

But it’s also one I’ll forever be indebted to.  Because it was one the principal reasons I tried so hard to change myself.

…And Now?

Last Friday I walked into a bar with a friend.

I headed to the bar, stood tall, looking beautiful (I think), and the bartender asks me what’ll I have.  I tell her my usual, of course, and as I finish this short, lame dude next to me barks angrily:

“Hey!  I was here first!”

The nightclub was packed.  And the bar – packed too – extends the entire length of a wall, with maybe 50, maybe more just crowded around it vying for attention and a turn.

I happened to walk up at the right time, in the right place.

But this isn’t exactly a “line”. This isn’t some orderly  queue at a grocery store. It’s a madhouse.

The guy tells the bartender his order, as she stands there waiting for us; for us to decide who’s turn it’d be.

The old me would have just let him go, would have let that turn pass and waited 25, 30 minutes more for another – just wasting my time, wasting my night, when I could have been enjoying the place, and enjoying my friends.

I would have stood there and took it – to avoid the awkwardness, to avoid the trouble, to avoid a confrontation.

But anyone who knows what it feels like to be that person – and perhaps only those people who know what it’s like to be that person – knows it totally…fucking…sucks.

They know the regret you feel for not speaking up, the anger you feel at not stepping up, the shame you feel in letting someone – some stranger – walk all over you.

The small things.

But I’m not that person anymore…

I’m changed.  I’m different.  I’m deserving.

“Dude, go fuck yourself.  She asked ME my order.”

I tell the bartender again what I’ll have and she gets them, ignoring the other dude’s request, because she doesn’t care, and because people innately respond to those more assured of themselves, and confident in themselves, all things being equal.

The guy says, angrily: “You’re a dick!”

“Fuck off, dude,” I tell him.  “It’s a bar.  Not the line at a bank.”

I grab my drinks and walk off.

To the reader here…

…it may seem strange.  It may seem rude, even.  And my language probably was, in the plainest sense.

But confidence is a strange thing.


The average weak individual has no confidence in them self, no standards for how others treat and interact with them.  They willingly accept all manner of things done to them and said to them because they feel incapable of defending those standards they should hold inside – for how others should speak to them, how others should treat them, how others should respect them.

People walk all over them, and it’s as if they lay in the street to help.

To those who live it, it’s the worst, most pathetic feeling.

But you must have standards for how people treat you in life.  You must stand up for what you deserve and are owed.  You must stand up for yourself.

Because no one will respect someone who doesn’t respect himself.

My language might have been crude, and I could have just let him go.  But reasonable people reasonably understand that bars are not grocery lines; that it is – in many ways – every man for himself.  And if the situation were reversed I legitimately wouldn’t have given it a second thought, as I haven’t in the trillion other times it’s happened to me.

But when you grow up…

…intimidated, you understand it.

When you grow up scared, you understand it.

When you grow up always feeling the lesser, weaker of any two, you fucking understand it.

That I’m a good person.  With good intentions.  That I never mean anyone harm, nor disrespect them out of vengeance or malice.  That I don’t go out of my way to be a dick to everyone, or an asshole to anyone.

But the reality is, that in this world the strong do eclipse the weak; and those with the confidence to enforce their standards will forever be those who ensure others live by them; and those too passive, too meek, too weak to protect themselves, their interests, will always be the ones with neither left to protect.

It’s a fine line.

But it’s one you know – and feel – when you’re on the weak side of it.

Cause to be weak is no man’s dream, and ought not be any man’s reality.

To stand up for one’s self can be difficult, can be confrontational, can be scary.

I know.

But…a life of the alternative…is far, far worse.

I won’t let any person, then, push me around, or make me feel a fool.


Share and comment below.  It might make you feel better (not a guarantee).


One Response to The Importance of Standing Up for Yourself

  1. downfromtheledge says:

    Although I 100% get your point (this describes me to a tee), I’m not sure about the example….it seems more like the OTHER guy was standing up for himself when you cut in. I don’t think saying “My bad, go ahead” and being courteous would have made others see you as weak, any more than telling someone to go f themselves for something so small makes you strong.

    There is a fine line between confidence..and ego…and being a complete d*ck to people. There’s a learning curve on this, and I -for sure- don’t have it mastered.

    I fall into the “reserved” category you described your old self as. As people tend to be dipshits, they occasionally assume quiet = weak = passive = stupid. But if I overreact aggressively, that just makes me a bitch, doesn’t it? Fine line.

    But yeah, apologizing to someone who’s been an a**hole to me? Been there.

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