“Oh, God (creator, Universe), I want to be born on X date to Y and Z parents in W country,” said no one ever! Humans have so much power but there are many things we don’t have control over.

For example, where, how, when, and to whom we should be born, the color of our skin, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a disability, and many other things.

Wondering what we’re talking about? This article aims to show you the best ways to stand up for yourself in such trying times.

This what I mean.

Sometimes, life hits and hits very hard. But what do you do when it looks like you are alone in some black, bottomless hole somewhere, with no way out or no one to listen to or talk to?

Here is a real life case scenario.

Standing Up Against All Odds

Olivia was in high school when her kid brother died. It was a terrible time in her life and school literally became a chore. Though only 16, she already began to worry about of her mum and other responsibilities at home as she was now the only child with no father in the picture since she was born.

Of course, she cared less about her outfits, parties, or hangouts and focused more on her grades and the baking skills she picked up from her mom.

Five years later, Olivia was a graduate of Business Management with a baking shop already blooming. Her next goal is to enroll in a culinary school in France to perfect her culinary skills.

Now, Olivia didn’t ask for a tragedy to happen in her teenage years, and she could have had the perfect excuse to be depressed and not care about anything anymore. It’s actually the easiest and “logical” choice at that moment.

Afterall, everyone would understand. 

While it’s okay to feel the things that are going on with you, remaining in that state is a choice.

If you don’t tell yourself “You know what? I didn’t choose for any of these to happen but I can choose how I’m going to respond to them” it’s easy to just remain in that point of pain, hurt, anger, sadness, discouragement, betrayal, or whatever it is you are struggling with at the moment. 

I’ll be honest to say this is a more difficult option.

You won’t “feel” like doing it. “What’s even the point?” you may ask yourself a couple of times. But it’s in this very struggle life begins to make meaning, again.

Here is another instance.

Imagine coming back home from work in one of the most beautiful white shirts you have. Just a block away from home, someone drives by and splashes some mud on you.

You can swear and curse the driver, or walk away quietly?

Okay, so what do you do about the shirt when you get home? Throw it out because it got stained? Dump it in the laundry basket and never wear it again? Or do you wash it and wear it another day. I think the answer is pretty obvious.

As obvious as that answer may be, that’s what life is really about. We’re constantly faced with situations we didn’t bargain for, some of which are unpleasant or discouraging. However, what we decide to do about them is entirely up to us. 

If this is or has been your case, this article will show the how you can literally stand up for yourself in trying times.

Is It Good to Stand up for Yourself?

Uh…What do you think?

Imagine walking into a grocery store to get a pack of milk and out of the blues someone walks up to you, grabs the milk and throws it on the floor.

What would you do?

Report to the Manager, yell at the stranger, demand an explanation, apology, or a replacement… the list goes on and on. 

What about a colleague who always puts you down in front of others? Or a sibling who never appreciates what you do for them? 

Whatever the situation is, there is always this natural and instinctive desire to stand up for a wrong done to you.

You know you don’t deserve to be treated in this way and so you react with words, facial expression, or body language.

Read: How To Get To Know Yourself: 15 Simple Hacks

So why should you stand up for yourself? 

It’s simple: Value and Self-esteem.

If you don’t stand up for yourself, it shows you don’t value yourself and anyone can get away with just about anything that’s done to you.

If you value yourself, there are some things you won’t tolerate, things you’ll be clear and vocal about because you are important and precious to you, first.

This respect you show yourself will only attract more value to you.

So, is it good to stand up for yourself? You answer for yourself.

When to Stand Up for Yourself and When to Let it Go

Have you ever smiled at someone and you got a very cold stare in return? I can’t be the only one.

I was speaking with a woman recently and by trying to be polite, I smiled as I discussed with her.

Suddenly she glared at me and yelled: “Why are you smiling? Why are you smiling?!”

I was shocked and just smiled further (I know, right?) This just made her angrier for some reason and the next thing she said was “you are just laughing at your stupidity”.

I mean, come on. My only offense was a smile.

Immediately, I stopped smiling and replied her “Ma’am, I’m not stupid and I’m not smiling at any form of stupidity. I was only trying to be courteous.”

She saw the look on my face and said I should apologize to her because she has a granddaughter my age (sigh..) I apologized to her and got on with my inquiry, seriously this time.

You see, I could have continued smiling when she was rude to me but I knew I had to stand up for myself at that point because I do not deserve to be treated like that. 

So, when do you draw the line and decide “you know what, I won’t take this?”.

When to Stand Up for Yourself

You need to stand up for yourself when:

  • your reputation is threatened, 
  • someone tries to devalue you especially in public, 
  • someone trivializes your effort,
  • people make you feel less than yourself,
  • Someone tries to make you do something that goes against your beliefs.
  • Someone tries to put a title on you that you do not want.

Let’s explore this practically.

For example, Steve, an obnoxious colleague has been on your nerves for so long and blurted out to you during a business brief one morning:

“Your input in that project isn’t that big of a deal. I don’t know what the fuss is all about.” You could simply reply to the hearing of everyone. “Shame how it didn’t come from you.”

Or you are in an interview and you are asked; “You don’t even have a college degree, what makes you feel you deserve to be hired?”

Instead of coil back into a place of shame and regret, “a consistent track record of successful results” could be a confidence trait the company has been looking for.

Irrespective of who is in the position, you gotta know that you’re not meant to be treated like trash just because you are kind or nice, neither should you be de-valued because you do not possess some qualifications or possessions.

But there are some times when someone offends you and you just have to let it go.

So, when do you let it go?

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When to Let it Go

A friend shared with me recently an encounter he had with a lady in his organisation. This lady has always been passively aggressive towards him.

He tried to walk out the door and she slammed it shut in his face. He told me he was gonna quit the organization because he was tired of her attitude towards him.

I advised him not to quit because of someone but he was certain he had made up his mind.

He reported it to the head of the club and her question got into my bones. “You want to leave because of her? Don’t you know the kind of person she is?

That means this organization isn’t important to you.” For a warm, nice woman, I wasn’t expecting a blunt response from our boss. The shock on our faces made her explain further.

“There’s a time to stand up for yourself and there’s a time to let go. When you know a person’s character and you know that no matter what you do, they’re going to be mean and nasty to you, ignore them. Getting upset over what they do or don’t do to you is giving them undue power over your life.”

My friend suddenly grew quiet because sometimes the truths we need to hear are very bitter pills that are hard to swallow. I knew it had sunk in.

The earlier you realize that not everything is about you, and people treat you not according to how you treat them but how they feel, the better for you. 

When you treat people great and they do not reciprocate or they even treat you badly, let it go. 

Times are already hard as they are. Adding more hurt or pain by dwelling on the pain people have thrust on you will only make it hurt more.

So, I will advise, you should let it go when:

  • it doesn’t add anything to you.
  • it does is hurt you.
  • you don’t gain anything from it.
  • it’s just pointless.
  • for peace’ sake.

Remember my story from earlier about the woman who felt offended by my smile?

When he realized she was just a bitter person for whatever reasons, he apologized to her when she asked for an apology because it was pointless at that point trying to explain anything to her.

Plus, he just needed my peace. So, he had to let it go by apologizing and it took nothing from him.

How Can You Stand Uo for Yourself Without Crying?

Sometimes crying is therapeutic as it’s a way to let out stress. But many times, it’s a result of despair, desperation or hopelessness.

So, how do you stand up for yourself without the waterworks?

1. Focus on your WHY (Vision)

When you stand up for yourself, focus on why you do it. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you even stand up for yourself?
  • why you can’t give up

When you know what you are standing up for; you’ll be strengthened, you’ll be brave.

2. Focus on your Passion

When you find out what you are really good at, your passion, something that gives you fulfilment or joy, you can channel your energy towards that, and soon, you’ll see yourself stand up for yourself in ways you hadn’t imagined.

Why Is it Important to Stand Up for Others?

We don’t do life alone no matter how you look at it. There’ll always be a friend, sibling, co-worker, colleague, neighbour, even a stranger, someone who needs you to stand up for them in some situations. 

This is because some people are either not strong enough to stand for themselves or they are just overwhelmed with what’s going on.

So, why do you stand up for others? 

The most important reason is, when you’re there for them, you:

  • give them hope and become the shoulder they lean on for help.
  • inspire them to be brave themselves.
  • show them it is possible to beat whatever challenge they have going on.
  • become someone they look up to when they have issues or want to share some great news.
  • helps them get out of the situation faster. A problem shared is already half-solved. Standing up for them has already relieved the burden off their chests for starters. Getting solutions will be easier as they’ll begin to see and think clearly.

Standing up for others also shows you how strong you really are, which gives you renewed energy to face your own battles.

Now, let’s dive right in to the practical ways you can stand up for yourself in those not-so-great times


1. Take a deep breath.

This is the very first thing you should do. Do not react.

Just take a deep breath and relax.

Take a step back from everything. Take a day or two off from everything.

Just inhale and exhale and try to understand or process what’s happening or what just happened.

2. Reflect/Meditate/Shut down from the noise e.g social media. 

Let’s face it. Sometimes when you scroll through social media and all you see are the perfect lives of friends, acquaintances, or strangers, you immediately find yourself comparing your life to theirs.

Suddenly, you see all your imperfections, lack, failures, desires, etc. And then you begin to feel like a loser.

When you’re going through hard times, completely shut down social media and face life. You know, REAL LIFE. The one in front of you, the one you can see, feel, touch.

Face life, live in it, enjoy it. You’ll be amazed at the healing properties that will bring to your mind and body.

3. Your feelings are valid and real. 

Many times, people shut down their feelings because they think it shows they are weak.

On the contrary, being vulnerable and honest with yourself shows you’re strong. Whatever you feel; anger, pain, hurt, disappointment, fear, worry, anxiety; etc- let yourself feel them.

If you want to cry, scream, do so. Just let it all out.

Only, do not remain here forever. 

4. Journaling

When you write how you really feel in a journal or a book, it’s just like talking to your best friend about a certain challenge, spilling it all out without holding back, being vulnerable, and letting it all out.

It’s a way of expressing yourself fully without fear of judgment or criticism.

This also helps you write down ideas that may pop up in your head with little to no distractions.

5. Face it squarely. 

Pretending your challenge or difficulty doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. It will only make it linger.

Don’t avoid your challenges. Look them in the eye and face them squarely.

Accept what has happened and look for how to come through it. You’re a winner after all.

6. Remember, the situation is temporary.

I remember checking my Instagram insights sometime last month and was so worried when I saw that all the results (engagements and reach) were negative figures.

It bothered me so much because I had put in much effort that week with some content, that I reached out to a friend to complain about it.

He just smiled and asked me to relax and just be consistent with what I was doing. His seeming nonchalance irritated me, to say the least. But it came as a shock to me when the next few weeks were all positive figures. 

Now, Instagram may not be the best example for this but it showed me a picture of life in general.

Today things are great, tomorrow they’re just okay, and the next time, they’re just terrible (irrespective of what you do). But they won’t always remain so.

That heartbreak, job loss, or financial challenge won’t last forever. It’s just like a circle that goes round and round.

7. Evaluate the situation/ what went wrong?

Now is the time to look at a situation critically and assess it from the point of view of a third party. Be objective in your reasoning.

Ask yourself questions like “what would I have done or said differently?”

For example, you’re going through a heartbreak or a job loss, there may be something you didn’t do right that you’ll see if you’re objective and honest enough.

8. Draw Lesson Points.

Draw lessons from your evaluation and work on them. If honesty or transparency isn’t your strong points, then actively start working on yourself.

There’s no challenge that doesn’t come without lessons. We just have to have the right perspective.

9. Recollect past wins, even if they are small.

Life is full of ups and downs, you know that. So how about listing out some of those “ups” and just focusing on them for some time?

That target you exceeded, that friend you helped out, that exam you crushed, that client with a positive feedback, etc.

Somehow, sometime, somewhere, you’ve had good, dare I say, awesome days. What this does is remind you that your life isn’t just a fest of tragedies.

This will also remind you how amazing you are.

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10. Consume resources that are aligned with your goals.

If you’re going to be on the internet, then get resources and materials that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.

If you’re a graphic designer, look for websites or resources that will challenge and engage your mind to create more designs.

If you have a financial goal, get resources that’ll help you with practical steps on how to achieve this goal. This will keep your mind busy and away from the challenge at hand.

11. Reach out to a confidant.

The way you stand up for people, in the same measure or more are some others who can and will stand up for you when you can’t.

They may be few but there is at least one person you can reach out to who will listen to you, encourage you, advise you and be there for you through your difficulties.

12. Try something new.

Can you sketch, sing, dance, play a video game, Solve a puzzle, skate? There’s something you have been dying to try for some time or something you just wished you could do.

Well, now is the time, and this could be the perfect distraction for you. 

13. Walk away from toxicity (work, relationship, clients, etc)

 You deserve better. Your peace and sanity is the most important thing.

If someone or something is stressing you or draining you mentally, emotionally, physically or financially, just walk away from them.

14. Give yourself a treat.

What do you enjoy doing for fun?

Go grab a cup of coffee, go on a walk, go see a movie, hang out at a mall, take lots of pictures, eat ice cream, visit a friend, etc.

Whatever you know will make you happy, go do it.

15. Appreciate yourself for your progress so far.

Even if you’re only 10 years old, you have come a long way in life.

Take a step back, look at your life, look at certain decisions, choices, outcomes, relationships, networks, achievements that have trailed your life so far. 

Sometimes, just pause and look back at how far you’ve come. Only then will you realize how exceptional you are and how close you are to achieving your goals.

I bet coming out of those difficult situations don’t look so impossible now.

Now, this has gone on longer than I expected but I’m going to end with this

There’s this quote of mine that came to me while meditating recently and it has stuck “your disadvantage is your story, you don’t just know it yet.

Read: Free Self-Help Books for your Business Growth | 2022


If you do not stand up for yourself now in these trying times, you will not have a story to tell. No one will hear your voice. No one will be inspired or motivated by what you have gone through in life.

Haven’t you wondered why many successful people have very sad stories of adversities they overcame? Of course, they didn’t meet at “problem camp” to compete for “the most pathetic story.” This is real life, and they had to pull through and overcome what life threw at them. 

Strength isn’t measured by physical capacity. It is by the challenges we have and can overcome, the stamina to endure trying times and come to on the other side a winner or victor.

You deserve the best. Yes, YOU. It doesn’t matter what you have or where you are right now in life.

Remember, it is only those who stand up and show up get that get any form of recognition in the history books. 



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