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Mental Health

How Standing up for Myself Growing up Taught Me Independence

Knowing how to stand up for yourself is important. With your family life, work life, and even social life, there will come a time where you need to make a stand for your own difference in perspective. Sometimes, it may seem easier to go with the flow and avoid personal conflict, but the truth is that letting people walk all over you or dictate the way you go through life will only lead to more inner conflict, anxiety, stress, and lessen your own feelings of self-worth. 

I was always the kid that had to say what I was thinking. Growing up, I would always find myself getting into arguments with my parents because I needed to state my opinion, to stand up for something I knew I believed in. My mentality was always, ‘”If I stand up for myself now, then I teach other people to treat me with respect later.” I think, in a way, my parents encouraged me to do this because the more you compromise your own beliefs, the more of a negative impact it will have on your own well-being. And the more you do this, the more it will happen. It becomes a cycle that, as a grown-up, you don’t know how to get out of. 

Standing up for myself with my parents and friends really gave me a lot of self-respect and confidence. Because I stood up for myself and my ideals, I now know that I can handle what life throws at me. I have developed such a strong sense of self because I know that I never lost my opinions in the face of others. I have learned independence and integrity. Doing the right thing or standing up for your beliefs may not be easy, but when you do, you KNOW you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

Firstly, if you don’t stand up for yourself or your beliefs, then who will? How can you expect others to? Secondly, the person you should always be able to count on to stand up for you no matter what is you. Doing this reinforces your own independence and helps you stand on your feet when the time comes. 

Especially during the weird, middle reality that college is, this is the time where we start to learn to stand up on our own two feet and make our way into adulthood. This is where we stop relying on our parents, and this is where we make our own decisions about our own lives. I mean, come on! You have been doing great! You have made it this far, and there is no one responsible for that but YOU. You are amazing. So believe it. 

Start small. Walk with your shoulders back and your head held high. Feel the power in your own body, and know that you are every bit as capable as the person you’re comparing yourself to. Channel that confidence when you assert yourself. These things don’t have to be so big, but I promise you that once you start, the rest will come so naturally. You’ll want to stop compromising the things you want, the things you believe in, because it feels so good to state your personal truth. 



We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes and choose the easier path once in a while, but learning to stand up for ourselves is what’s most important. Learning to stand up for yourself will help you take charge of your life, believe in your own power, and embolden you to reach for your dreams. The stronger you feel, the stronger you will become.

Do you believe in yourself? 

 

Myna Chadalavada

U Mass Amherst '22

Myna is a junior neuroscience and biochemistry double major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is passionate about her research in emotion regulation and wants to find a way to use her words to change a life. You can find her in the greenhouse, on a rooftop garden writing poetry, the 23rd floor of the library with a book in her hand, or a room with a piano.
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