People who stand up for themselves without being confrontational usually display these 7 behaviors

There are definitely different ways to stand up for yourself.

One is to get very aggressive and confront anyone who’s not conforming to how you want and need things to be.

Another way is to actively make everyone know that you have your way of doing things. People can go out of their way to let it be known that it’s “My way or the highway.”

But this can also be confrontational and have a negative effect on others who might feel bossed around.

Are there ways to show that you’re not going to be treated like a doormat that aren’t so aggressive?

Sure, there are, and many people are able to do this on the regular.

People who stand up for themselves without being confrontational usually display these seven behaviors, which show they’re tactful and emotionally mature.

1) They practice

If any people are born with the innate ability to handle disagreements or issues in a non-confrontational way, they’re certainly few and far between.

Most of us learn to stand up for ourselves in completely confrontational ways. 

In kindergarten, another kid takes your toy, so you scream, cry, and hit them in the nose.

But then the teacher tells us that this isn’t the way to deal with our problems, and many of us learn more productive problem-solving skills.

But we certainly have to practice them.

Some people actually talk to themselves in the mirror, practicing what they will say to someone they have to assert themselves with. 

Other people get real practice.

By dealing with issues frequently, they learn ways to keep calm and think about what they’re doing when they need to stand up for themselves.

2) They act with compassion

People who are able to deal with problems without coming off as aggressive and confrontational are usually compassionate.

They’re able to temper their own feelings by thinking about the other person’s feelings and situation.

I remember the first time I had to follow up on a debt that a friend owed me.

It made me so nervous, and I totally blew it, almost damaging our relationship permanently.

I wasn’t able to keep my feelings inside, and I ended up accusing him of being thoughtless and not caring about my situation at all.

As it turned out, his father had just gone into the hospital a few days before due to a major heart attack, and he’d been far too distracted to think about anything else.

I really felt awful after putting my foot deep inside my own mouth.

Over time, though, I learned to be more relaxed about this sort of thing.

Rather than taking it personally and boiling with anger, I try to find out what I can about the other person’s situation. 

I try to understand why they’ve done what they did. I also try to find a way to relate to them so they can understand how I feel without being aggressive or angry.

I’m not an expert, but I’m happy to say I’m getting there!

3) They control their body language

Have you ever seen someone waving their arms frantically, jabbing a finger in another person’s face, frowning, and shouting and thought, “Hmm, this person is really non-confrontational?”

Letting your body language go to these extremes makes it virtually impossible for anyone to focus on anything else. 

You may have practiced what you were going to say to someone who’d crossed your boundaries.

If your body language is angry and aggressive, though, even the most measured message is going to read that way.

I once won a free day tour that included rafting and hiking and I thought it was going to be incredible. I’d never won anything before!

But honestly, I immediately wished I hadn’t won this tour.

For some reason, the group of winners, about 20 people, were all huge complainers.

Even though it was a free trip, they pestered the tour guide constantly about things being too slow, too fast, too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry… you get the idea.

This completely ruined the experience for me, but I did manage to learn something.

No matter what people said or how loud or grumpy they were, the tour guide never rose to it.

He stayed cool and calm. His arms were always relaxed and at his sides, he always had a smile, and he spoke softly.

It was so impressive. I had to ask him later how he managed to keep so cool.

He simply told me that he was taught never to raise his voice or act aggressively with customers, no matter what they did. It was never going to help and would always make things worse.

That’s something that’s stuck with me and that I’ve tried to emulate.

4) They think first

When someone does something to really push your buttons, what’s your first instinct?

If it’s to lash out and strike back, you’re certainly not alone.

But you’ve probably noticed that a knee-jerk reaction almost always makes you act like a jerk (with knees?).

People who can stand up for themselves without getting confrontational often use this simple trick – they pause, take a deep breath, or even count to ten.

This has two great effects.

The first is that it actually helps you calm your nervous system so that you don’t get too many fight-or-flight hormones pumping into your veins.

That helps you stay calm.

The second is that it gives you time to think.

You can stand your ground but take time to come up with a more considered, thoughtful response to their action that may help you solve the issue without having to escalate things.

Try biting your lip or pinching your hand if you really need to keep yourself from lashing out!

5) They think win-win

If you have to stand up for yourself, that means someone else is trying to attack, manipulate, use, or abuse you, right?

Or, at the very least, they’re trying to assert themself and what they want, which can directly conflict with what you want.

Is the answer always to tell them that they’re wrong and you’re right, and that’s that?

Even this kind of thinking could be perceived as confrontational.

Another way to approach these situations, then, is to think win-win.

Think about what they want and what you want, and instead of making a winner and a loser, see if you can’t find a way to sort things out that works for both of you.

Imagine you’re signaling that you’re going to turn into an empty parking spot when another driver comes whipping around the corner and tries to take it. That’s your spot!!

It’s a stalemate, with neither car able to take the spot.

But instead of exchanging heated words, you could make a quick agreement.

You both want a spot but you can’t both have this one, so why not offer to stand in another spot and reserve it for them after you park here?

That way, you stand your ground but also find a solution without a confrontation.

6) They’re authentic

One thing that people who are good at sticking up for themselves share is authenticity.

They don’t feel like they have to be drama queens or make their crisis worse than someone else’s to get what they want.

Instead, they’re true to themselves and are real.

This doesn’t mean they have to be entirely transparent. They don’t need to reveal everything in every situation.

But they also don’t have to play the pity card or the victim card to get what they want.

They express their true selves, and that’s enough. 

They also don’t fall victim to feeling guilty for standing up for themselves.

They know that they deserve to make a stand when their rights or needs are being threatened.

7) They stick to their guns

But they don’t brandish them.

You can certainly defend yourself and your rights with a firm no without being confrontational or aggressive. 

That no just needs to stay a no and can’t turn into a yes.

People who have this concept mastered can be firm and persistent, but that’s not what it means to be aggressive.

They don’t have to attack or defend; just maintain their position and reinforce it with reason.

When they’re able to maintain their position and composure in the face of another person’s aggression, they’ll win no matter what.

They’ll at least win the respect of the people around them.

It’s not always easy to stick up for yourself.

In situations when people are trying to take away what’s yours or overstep your boundaries, they might be very aggressive and confrontational themselves.

But people who stand up for themselves without being confrontational normally manage to come out on top.

They usually display these seven behaviors that win them respect, help to diffuse tricky situations, and can sometimes lead to solutions that are beneficial for everyone.

Give them a try!

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