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Life > Experiences

Standing Up For Yourself

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSD chapter.

Last week, Emma Chamberlain’s podcast was all about the importance of standing up for yourself. She talked about how she was a people pleaser in high school, in regards to relationships and friends, and how she eventually grew out of it. Her experience isn’t unique, and it got me thinking about how much different my life would have been if I had stood up for myself when it mattered most. 

Much like Emma, I was a massive pushover growing up and in high school. I was friends with people who weren’t good for me. I did anything I could to make them want to stay, so it was always my fault when they left. It was always my fault things didn’t work out, it was always my fault I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want to make anyone mad. I was scared to disappoint anyone. It was always others’ needs before my own. I didn’t like who I was enough to care about what I wanted, what I needed. 

It was only when I grew into my self-love that I developed self-respect and was finally able to stand up for myself. 

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying everyone is going to have the same path to standing up for themselves as I did. I’m not even saying I know how I started standing up for myself or how I got to the point that I’m at now. 

But what I am saying is that standing up for yourself is something you need to start working on as soon as you feel ready to, as soon as you can.

Standing up for yourself is something you need to constantly put effort into. It is something you need to be conscious of all the time. It is something that is going to demand a lot from you, and it is something for which you need to be ready. 

It isn’t easy. It isn’t easy telling your friends that they’re being rude to you and that they need to stop. It isn’t easy telling your group to respect the boundaries you set. It isn’t easy telling your parents you deserve to make your own decisions. It isn’t easy telling them you don’t want to follow whatever path they’ve set for you. It isn’t easy telling your partner that things need to change if you want to stay together. It isn’t easy telling that person who’s just a friend that things might need to end. 

It is never going to be easy standing up for yourself. Even now, I stutter and my palms sweat and I fear that I’m not going to be able to do it. But I push through. I set my boundaries. I don’t take crap from the people around me. I don’t let my family dictate what I want to do. It is never easy, but I spent too much of my life allowing others to take advantage of my kindness. So I persevere because I now understand that I deserve to put myself first. It doesn’t mean that I always do, or that I always should, but I’m growing to understand when it is necessary to stand up for myself. 

It is never going to be easy, but standing up for yourself gets easier

You will come to a point one day when you realize you can no longer afford to let people continue to walk all over you. Or you’ll come to a point where you realize you just don’t want to spend all your time pleasing others. Regardless of whatever epiphany you have, there will be a moment in which you will finally begin to stand up for yourself. 

Because you deserve to put yourself first. You deserve to be surrounded by people who are going to better you, who are going to be there for you, who are going to provide a support system for you to fall back on when you need them. You deserve friends who are going to uplift you. You deserve better than people and so-called “friends” who constantly put you down, who always make you the butt of the joke, who love to mock the things you love. You deserve better, and you deserve to stand up to these friends who treat you poorly. 

In relationships, you deserve to be cherished and respected. You deserve to have your needs and wants met. You deserve someone who wants to love all of you, not just select parts, and someone who’s going to love your faults just as much. You deserve someone who’s going to give you clarity, closure, communication, and care rather than someone who toys with your feelings, someone who dances around the conversation and avoids confrontation, someone who doesn’t want commitment but wants all your time. You deserve to demand more than the bare minimum when it comes to love. 

You deserve to follow your heart! To follow your dreams and make the wildest ones come true! You don’t deserve to be held back by people who don’t want what’s in your best interest. You deserve to make your own path in life, not just follow the one given to you at birth. You deserve to learn and grow on your own, separate from an environment that might not suit you anymore. 

You deserve to be strong. You deserve to be respected. You deserve to never settle for anything less than love.

Even if you don’t think you do, you deserve to stand up for yourself. You can do it.  

(I believe in you.)

A little bit about me: I'm a Classical Studies major with a Critical Gender Studies minor at UCSD! I love reading, writing, and watching movies. I am a hopeless romantic and an extravert (the perfect combination for falling in love quickly and getting my heart broken). I also really like cats.