If you let people do these 5 things, it’s time to stand up for yourself

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It’s only natural to want to be kind and accommodating to others, but sometimes, people can take advantage of your good nature. 

I’ve always been a people-pleaser, and went along with anything just to avoid conflict or confrontation. I was scared to ever put my foot down, for fear of overreacting.

But over time, I started to feel really exhausted and pretty resentful of everyone around me. 

It’s not even about drastic things like abuse and gaslighting — even common things that happen on a daily basis can take their toll.

After investing in my mental health through therapy and personal development, I’ve learned when I have the right to draw a line, and where to set healthy boundaries. 

And now, I’d like to help anyone else who finds themselves in my position to do the same. In this article, we’ll look at 5 common behaviors that indicate it’s time to stand up for yourself and put a stop to being treated poorly. 

1) People constantly interrupt you

The first item on our list is something that might happen to you very often, but can be very difficult to put a stop to. At least, if you want to be respectful about it, but feel frustrated at the same time. 

Namely, being interrupted. 

It isn’t always done with bad intentions — many times, my own friends do it to me and they don’t even realize. 

Nevertheless, it can make you feel like the other person isn’t truly listening or doesn’t value your contribution. And that’s no good way to feel, especially with friends.

At first, I would just let it slide, not wanting to make a big deal out of it. But as it continued to happen, I felt increasingly disrespected, and unheard.

How to stand up for yourself

It’s essential to assert yourself in such situations. With people who I know mean well, I try my best to be kind while being clear, with something like: 

“I really value your input and I’d love to hear your thoughts, but can you please let me finish mine first?”

When you stand up for yourself like this, you’re not only advocating for your right to be heard but also encouraging respectful communication. You deserve to have your ideas and opinions valued, and it starts with you setting the standard for how you wish to be treated.

2) People take you for granted

Being generous and helpful is a wonderful quality to have, but when others start to take your assistance for granted, it’s a signal that you need to re-evaluate the situation. It’s easy to fall into a pattern where you constantly give, but rarely receive anything in return.

I’ve been in this position myself, always offering a helping hand or going out of my way for others. 

For example, in high school I’d help my classmates who were behind with their assignments, spending hours of my free time on them. 

As an adult, I’d be the one to take the least comfortable bed while traveling, or go along with a restaurant I didn’t like because others wanted to eat there. 

And I loved the idea of being a generous and accommodating person — but sadly I developed the feeling that I was being taken advantage of and unappreciated.

How to stand up for yourself

At the end of the day, this is on us. It is up to us to set boundaries and decide what we are and aren’t willing to give — it isn’t other people’s fault when they ask and we oblige.

So consider the dynamics of your relationships, and if you notice people not reciprocating your effort, maybe stop going out of your way to help them.

It might sound cold, but at the end of the day, it helps to conserve the balance in the relationship, so that one person doesn’t build up a ton of anger towards the other.

3) You take on too many commitments

You may feel uncomfortable telling other people “no” — this is something many salesmen know and take full advantage of.

And so can other people such as your colleagues or friends, even unknowingly. Every time they need a favor, you say yes to them — adding yet another thing to your already enormous pile of things to do.

You mean really well, as you want to help everyone. 

But taking on too many commitments can make you feel overwhelmed, stressed, and resentful — which means you’re not in a great position to help anyone.

How to stand up for yourself 

When you’re asked to take on another commitment, pause and consider whether it’s something you genuinely want to do, and something that aligns with your goals and values.

Next, consider whether you have the time and energy for it. It’s okay to decline if it’s not right for you.

When you do say “no,” you don’t have to give a lengthy explanation. A simple, “I’m sorry, but I can’t commit to that right now,” is enough. 

Remember that by saying no to others, you’re saying yes to yourself, giving yourself the time and energy to focus on what truly matters to you.

4) People taking credit for your work

It’s frustrating and unfair when someone else takes credit for your hard work, ideas, or achievements. You may have experienced this at work, in school, or even within your family or group of friends. 

It’s not only disappointing but can also have real consequences for your career and personal growth.

For example, I once thought of creating a website to give people in my area information about local cultural events. I told an acquaintance about the idea, then tabled it for a few months.

And then one day I see this person post on Facebook a link to exactly that kind of website. I wasn’t even that upset that they did it before me — I clearly didn’t have the time to focus on it.

But they could have had the consideration to speak to me about the idea or let me know they wanted to follow through on it, seeing as I’m the one who gave them the blueprint. 

How to stand up for yourself

It can be very uncomfortable to stand up for yourself when someone wrongfully takes credit, as you may feel like you’re accusing the person of stealing your ideas — even if they are.

But with the right strategy, you can set respectful boundaries and let the person know that this isn’t okay with you without completely ruining your relationship with them.

First, approach the person privately and lead with facts. Tell them you noticed that they created XYZ and that you remember telling them about this some time ago. 

Be honest about your feelings and tell them how seeing this made you feel surprised and betrayed. Ask them what led them to this decision, and hear them out.

Be ready with a specific request for how you’d like them to rectify the situation: remove what they posted, add your name to it, or something else. 

5) You’re always the listener

When you’re an incredible listener and a kind-hearted person, you’ll find more and more people come to you for advice, a shoulder to cry on, or just someone who’ll listen.

This is a great compliment. But you might ask yourself, when is it your turn?

I felt this way with one particular friend who was a real chatterbox and loved telling me about his crazy and funny stories.

And I loved hearing about them — but sometimes I was going through a hard time and wanted to share something myself.

The problem was, whenever I tried, he seemed to be only half present. And when I finished, he always found a way to turn the situation back to him, pulling out a story of something similar that happened to him, or talking about his own opinion rather than trying to understand mine.

I love this friend, but at the same time it’s frustrating and exhausting to constantly give your emotional energy without receiving any in return.

How to stand up for yourself

This kind of situation normally happens only with close friends, and I’m sure you want to keep a positive relationship with them.

So it can be tricky to know how to handle this in a way that both protects you and doesn’t ruin the friendship.

My favorite method is the compassionate “and” statement. Tell them something kind, and then using the word “and” share with them a request for them to do the same for you.

For example: “I’m here for you, and I’d also like to share what’s been going on with me.” 

It’s a gentle reminder that a friendship should be a two-way street.

Find the right balance for standing up for yourself

Now you know 5 things that you should stand up for yourself, if you’ve been letting people do them.

I hope you haven’t had the bad experiences and frustration that I have shared. But if yes, I hope that the tips I provided above will help you in setting healthy boundaries so that you can prevent it from happening in the future.

It can be unfortunate when we feel others mistreat us, but remember you set the tone for your relationships and what treatment you’re willing to tolerate.

When you set new boundaries, people will catch on and either adapt or get out of your life to make space for better relationships. 

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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