Wooden blocks spelling out Stand Up for yourself.

Empower Yourself: A 10-Step Guide to Standing Up for Your Needs

Most of us were brought up to be pleasant, pleasing, non-intrusive, non-confrontational, and to put the needs of others first.  In other words, we were brought up to be a “Good Girl.” 

Young girls who exhibited these traits were rewarded with praise, further instilling what I have termed, “The Good Girl Syndrome.”  Sadly, this syndrome stays with us through our adulthood and impacts every decision we make.  From salary negotiations, promotions, our family, without realizing it, our first thought is to be that ever-pleasing girl that deserves to be rewarded. 

I’m sure that most of you reading this understand what the need to be a good girl has cost you. It’s important to remember that standing up for your needs is not a selfish act.  In fact, I would say it’s the opposite. By recognizing and taking action to meet those needs, you will find out that not only will no one send you to your room, but the rewards will show up in the ways of a better position in life, more income, better health, and a better mental health.  You know what they say during safety instructions when flying, “put your oxygen mask on first.” 

The steps below will allow you a process you can follow in order to make a positive impact in every aspect of your life.  It won’t be easy at first, but these steps will help you not worry about pleasing others or fear being rejected.  It takes courage to change what you have been trained to do, as it often involves stepping out of your comfort zone, questioning long-held beliefs, and taking risks without a guaranteed outcome.  Know this, every step towards change is a step towards discovering your true potential.

You can do this!

Step 1: Self-Assessment

Identify your values, needs, and boundaries.

Step 2: Choose the Right Time and Place

Select a setting where you can talk openly and without interruptions.

Step 3: Be Clear and Specific

Clearly articulate what issue you’re addressing, why it’s important, and what you’d like to change.

Step 4: Use Assertive Communication

Use “I” statements to express your feelings and needs without blaming or accusing others.

Step 5: Maintain Composure

Stay calm, make eye contact, and keep a steady tone to convey your message effectively.

Step 6: Actively Listen

Listen to the other person’s side, ask clarifying questions, and show empathy.

Step 7: Evaluate and Negotiate

Assess the other person’s response and be willing to compromise while maintaining your essential boundaries.

Step 8: Reinforce Your Stance

Reiterate your point if necessary, emphasizing why it’s important to you.

Step 9: Assess Outcomes

After the conversation, evaluate if your needs have been met and what could be done differently in the future.

Step 10: Seek Support

If standing up for yourself proves challenging, seek advice and support from trusted friends, family, or professionals.

Additional Tips:

Practice makes perfect. Start with smaller issues and work your way up.

Remember that it’s okay to say no. Your well-being is important.