I didn’t want to do it, and yet I did. I reluctantly smiled and said, “Sure, no worries.” I then sat in the middle seat on the flight between two very large passengers, feeling cramped and annoyed. This is when it all started going wrong.

Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the author of Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy. He holds doctorates in English and Psychology.

your nicely written content, its useful and your writing style helped me to read it without any difficulty. Thanks Ian Filippini Santa Barbara

Inadvertently, you may be employing a double standard: one blatantly biased in your favor. Totally convinced that your way of thinking is the only “right” one, you lose the capacity to detach from it and honor the personal validity of the other’s viewpoint. And so, inevitably, your whole attitude toward them becomes dismissive. In reaction to feeling made wrong by them, you hasten to make them feel wrong in return.

But, as you can probably guess, it’s not always easy. Read on to learn why this skill is so beneficial and some ways to start developing it in your own career.

If that’s not enough, Roy Lubit, MD, PhD, a forensic psychiatrist based in New York, observes, “Somehow, we are supposed to be experts on dealing with other people and with our own emotions even though these issues were never formally addressed in our education and training.”

The meal cart arrived, and because we were at the back, they had run out of the vegetarian choice, so I had nothing to eat. I just said, “Not to worry.”

Perhaps, like Margaret, you’ve thought that if you put your nose to the grindstone, do good work, and have a can-do attitude, your career will be smooth sailing. The problem is, many other factors have an impact on your career, too—including the people around you and your relationships with them. And when those people turn into stonewall managers and abrasive colleagues, you’ll need more than a good work ethic and positive attitude to effectively deal with them.

“Why do you let him push you around like that?”

When it comes to being assertive, do you roar like a tiger or lie down like a lamb? Take our test to find out

Lea McLeod coaches people in their jobs when the going gets tough. Bad bosses. Challenging co-workers. Self-sabotage that keeps you working too long. She’s the founder of the Job Success Lab and author of the The Resume Coloring Book. Get started with her free 21 Days to Peace at Work e-series. Book one-on-one coaching sessions with Lea on The Muse's Coach Connect.

You "I need you to take my point of view and feelings into account." Other: Maybe you do but it isn't going to happen You: "Maybe you don’t think my position is as good as yours" Other: You're right, I don't You: "but I still think it deserves to be taken seriously.” Other: Well it won't be so what are you going to do about it?

Thank you for sharing your insights on this. I found it relatable and very helpful. I will be trying your strategy for speaking up without blowing up!

I was sitting in an aisle seat on an airplane once when a man asked me if I wouldn’t mind swapping with him. His friend was sitting next to me, and he wanted to talk to him. The problem was that this guy’s original seat was near the back and was a middle seat.

Once you’ve learned how to mindfully stand up for yourself, you’ll find that you’ve greatly increased the odds that whatever you have to say will be better understood—and given more weight—than may ever have been the case previously.

The thing is, we aren’t in high-school, anymore. The Mean Girls of the world can stay there, emotionally, if they wish. You don’t have to join them there.

I was fuming inside because I did not stand up for myself and for what I wanted. I started blaming the guy who was sitting in my original seat for how I was feeling. If he had just stayed in his seat then none of this would have happened. This was the story of my life. 

As a result, Margaret, a positively positive and highly effective employee, had turned into a rattled bunch of nerves. She dreaded every interaction with this manager, fearing that in sheer frustration, she’d eventually blurt out “I quit!” without having any kind of backup plan. She wanted to make it work—it was a great job with a wonderful community of colleagues—but she had no idea how she could.

I find that “No, thanks” is the perfect response. A flat out No changes into a polite No.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

If you face the truth, you increase your chances of feeling better. It no longer has power over you.

To ensure that your requests are understood, finish the conversation with questions like, “Based on the current situation and what we need to do to be successful, what can we do to make this happen?” This will engage the other party and help problem solve, rather than block conversation with objections.

I wish this talked about the other end of the spectrum. Some people who are insecure dont go in the direction of saying everything they say must be right. A lot of people, like me, go the opposite way where its - how do I stand up for myself and not look needy, or crazy, or like Im throwing a tantrum?

Assertiveness, then, would seem to represent the golden mean. And though, in general, it is, it’s also possible to be more combative or contentious in your assertiveness than you realize. If you resolutely proclaim the righteousness of your position without attending to the other’s wants, needs, and feelings, you’ll be perceived as aggressive—regardless of what may be your conscious intention simply to stand up for yourself.

But here’s the thing–my fierce factor is lightning fast. I grew up in an environment where it was imperative to stand up to a bully immediately, showing them you weren’t taking any shit, so that they’d leave you alone.

I had learned from an early age to teach people how to treat me. I was teaching them that it was okay to take advantage of me, because deep down inside I believed I was not enough.

Finally, What doesn't fail against stubbornness, disrespect, and premeditation? not everything is worth being corrected, and not every interaction needs to be successful.

Whatever the current state of your personal or professional relationships,  take a moment to consider where you sometimes stay silent rather than speaking up to make a stand for yourself. Or where you tolerate being treated in ways that leave you hurt, frustrated, resentful or undervalued. It may not seem like a big deal, but over time, we teach people how to treat us. It’s why bullies prey on those they can get away with bullying. In the end, we get what we tolerate.

“I aim to please. It’s okay, no worries. Please don’t worry, its no big deal.” These are some things I’ve said when interacting with others. The truth was that it wasn’t okay, and it was inconveniencing me.

Often our emotions are clouding our perception, so once you know what has been robbing you of your self-power, it's time to flip your perspective. Today I feel completely different after recognizing the truth of the situation. My ex-husband does not have my power; I don't need anything from him before I move. Today I feel less afraid, less sad and less numb. I feel alive, in control and free.

In order to advance, you have to know what you want next in your career. By outlining your future goals, you better understand what you're working towards and know what to ask for. Having a plan for your career projects confidence, organization and commitment.

What helps you feel empowered? My yoga practices cultivate a deep-rooted sense of power and safety within me. I rolled out a yoga mat in the grass and did yoga today, only for 10 minutes, but in that time I realized why yoga heals me. I was grounded in the earth, standing in Warrior Two, feeling strong and powerful. I find peace and confidence during one-legged pigeon where I can rest and relax safely and securely.

2. Don't be afraid to face what’s really bothering you.

\"When you're ambitious, it's frustrating to feel powerless over the timing of your own success,\" says Bennington. However, she recommends remaining patient (but not complacent) with the corporate process of advancement, showing that you're willing to put the time in and have respect for the bigger picture. Furthermore, \"any decision made out of impatience, usually turns out to be the wrong one.\"

How to stand up for yourself

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NOTE 2: If you’d like to check out other posts I’ve done for Psychology Today online—on a broad variety of psychological topics—click here.

There are times when it's a challenge for me to keep my anger at bay, and I don't want to say or do anything that I will regret later, so the best thing for me to do is to walk away. When I'm confronting someone, by calling them out on their actions, I want them to know where I stand, as well as letting them know that I don't have to tolerate their nonsense!! Besides, it's a challenge to stand up for yourself, when you're getting ready to SNAP!!

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Awesome post! Thank you for the reminder. I really needed it!