Stand Up, Speak Up!
The Teenager Today|September 2021
TEEN SPACE
DR SHEFALI BATRA

How often has it happened that you were uncomfortable with the way someone spoke to or behaved with you? As if they were taking you for granted, not respecting you enough; and not paying heed to what you felt or thought was appropriate? Did you hide from the situation, stay quiet and let it pass? Or you stood up and spoke up?

Personal points of view are bound to exist in social interactions. Each one of us perceives, analyzes and interprets information from the outside world, uniquely. How we react to these, however, could enhance or diminish us. We feel positive when we assert our ideas, and crushed when our view is not accepted, or worse, belittled.

We hesitate about speaking up, because it could arouse a potential conflict, and hurt your relationship with others. But staying quiet plagues our minds and relationships, nonetheless. You may decide that it is better to go with the flow, but what if the “flow” makes you sad, anxious, annoyed or frustrated? You could begin to think negatively about the other person, or start thinking lesser of your own, condition yourself to be submissive; and become so insecure, that you begin to take yourself for granted even before others do.

Aggression is about being disrespectful and demoting the other, while passivity is about denigrating and depreciating yourself. At the same time, if you continuously allow someone to crush you, you could also build up resentment and bitterness. None of these are our goal. You have the power in you to uplift yourself without downgrading others. When you are assertive, you are able to stand up for yourself, speak for what you believe in, and feel in charge of your life. Contrary to what you think, it isn’t self-confidence that makes you speak up. It’s the reverse. Assertiveness deepens your confidence.

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