Stand Strong

“Bending over backwards does not bring you the love and attention you crave, but having your own life, your own goals and a backbone will.” - Sherry Argov

Many of us, women in particular, were modeled martyrdom and passivity as a way of being. It’s supposed to make us considerate and likeable. It’s supposed to help us, in a roundabout way, get the things we want in life -- through alliances and partnerships and subtle dealings. I’ll scratch your back and you’ll…”Hey! Where are you going?”

Here’s the thing about having a backbone: standing up for yourself and being decisive is not only the key to success and joy, it’s the key to respect from others. So often we think deferring our wishes benefits a group or makes us more likeable. It’s simply not true.

What is true is that staying quiet and out of the way and deferring to others is a fear based way to live. You’re doing it to fly under the fear and rejection radar. You’re staying in the background because you don’t want to feel uncomfortable or make anyone else uncomfortable.

When you are too afraid to speak up about what you love, too scared to set boundaries, and too fearful to have decisive opinions, you make little to no impression on others and do an incredible disservice to yourself. This way of being garners you no respect. It does nothing to move your life forward and, perhaps more tragically, it keeps you from genuinely connecting with other people that share your passions. Advocating for what you value helps people see you, the real you, and people are drawn to authenticity.

Yes, if you have a backbone, you may not be liked by all, but you’ll be loved and respected by those that share your values. Isn’t that what really matters?

Practice, learn, to stand up for the things you want and need -- to say, experience and advocate for them -- in everyday life. And it does require practice. It's about building the muscles that support your metaphorical core, support your spiritual spine, when you’d rather crumple up all comfy in the corner of a metaphorical sofa.

You must strengthen your emotional core each day, make yourself uncomfortable little by little as you stretch outside of your comfort zone. You have to incrementally develop the ability to stand tall, ask for what you need, and advocate for what you deserve.

Here’s how to begin: Every day, for the next 5 days, do one thing that requires your backbone and makes you just a little uncomfortable. Such as:

  • Say No -- When someone asks for a personal favor, a tight deadline turn around at work, or your attendance at some event that’s wasting your time, decline politely. And then don’t apologize and lean into the discomfort that follows.
  • Speak Up -- At some point this week, someone will have a conversation about something you have an opinion about. Express this opinion... about what should happen in the project, what you believe about politics, or how Aunt Sally needs to shove it already.
  • Prioritize You -- There are things you value deeply in this world; things you want to do and cultivate. Make space in your life to do them. Whether it’s prioritizing your health or hobbies, downgrade someone else’s agenda and promote your own. You’re allowed. You deserve it.

Each day, take a tiny chance. Calcify your will. Connect genuinely. Stand tall. Be authentic and strong and model life with a backbone. It will benefit you and everyone around you.

Human Unlimited
Human Unlimited