Hey friends! Happy (finally) spring! I don’t know about you, but I am so happy to have green grass, flowers blooming, warm sunshine, and yes, even allergies. Say what?! Am I really happy to have allergies? I totally am, because that means it’s actually warm enough outside to not wear a winter coat. For some of you, you’re happy because this time of year means you’re almost done with school. The last day of school was literally one of the best days of my entire year—I would have a countdown going at home.
Today’s topic is one that I’ve been constantly learning since I was in grade school, and posted about before (that’s how passionate I am about it). I am still learning how to do it, and it is still uncomfortable for me to do, but yet I do it anyway, because—well, I have to. We all do. Stand up for yourself. Why is this so hard for some of us to do? For me, it’s because I was told by several people growing up, that it’s best to stay quiet to keep others comfortable. If something bothers you, or someone does you wrong, just ignore it and move on. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t upset others. Yet, I was the one upset and hurt. So, by staying quiet, I ended up hurting myself for years and years. I actually would end up apologizing for things that were not my fault, instead of standing up for myself…all because I wanted to keep the peace. Friends, don’t do this. Don’t follow that example. Please, I beg of you. It is so unhealthy and toxic, not just to yourself, but honestly, to others, too. When you don’t speak up, you are teaching them that it’s OK to treat you like crap and it’s OK to treat others that way, too. If no one speaks up, it will just a vicious cycle that will never end. It can only end when you end it. Let’s say your friend is getting bullied, teased, yelled at and you know it’s wrong, but you say nothing. (I mean, you want to keep the peace, right?) Not only does that hurt your friend (obvs), but then the next day, those kids are now bullying you—you could have prevented that the day before.
From someone who endured too much of toxic treatment over the years, if there’s anything I regret and wish I could do over again—it’s that I wish I could go back and speak up. WAY up. Because—newsflash—it’s not OK and it’s not cool. Every single person on this earth deserves, and has the right, to speak up and stand up for themselves. I’m serious. This is something I hope you all believe and take in. No one has the right to belittle you, tell you to shut up, try to silence you (because that in itself is bullying, fyi). Don’t give them the green light to do that to you. No matter what, you need to stand up for yourself. Speaking from experience, I can promise you that if you stay silent, and let people treat you like that, it will take years to overcome the emotional pain you will feel later on in life. And it will be harder to enforce it. I still get nervous and anxious when I’m standing up for myself. I sometimes feel sick. I sometimes want to shrink back into my shell and retreat because that’s easier. But, it’s NOT! In the long run, it’s so much harder and trust me, it’s just not worth it. I sometimes don’t trust myself. I sometimes don’t have enough confidence in myself. I sometimes want to disappear. Still. But, I do the absolute best that I can to overcome it, because I owe it to myself to speak up. My heart deserves that.
If you see someone being bullied, speak up. If you are being bullied, speak up. It doesn’t have to be an epic speech, just a simple “this isn’t OK and I need you to stop.” Trust me, I know it’s easier said than done. But, I promise you that your future self will thank you and be proud of you. If you know someone who is hurting, reach out, help them. I didn’t have many (if any) to help me when I was younger, so I think that is a big reason why I am such a people pleaser and helper now. I don’t want to see anyone else suffer or be in pain. Just remember you need to help yourself, too.
Maybe this summer, you can make a promise to yourself that you will work on this topic. One simple thing can affect you positively in so many big ways. Be kind to others, and be kind to yourself. You deserve it. Maybe reward yourself whenever you do it. Buy yourself flowers, put a dollar in a jar.
I would love to hear from you! Tell me your stories of how you’ve stood up for yourself, others, or how you plan to! Shoot me an email and let’s be friends: firstname.lastname@example.org