Life lesson time: I’m still learning how to stand up for myself, and SPOILER ALERT- it’s hard.

I was recently wearing a sequined blue maxi dress at a morning event where a woman INTENTIONALLY came up to me to say: “Wow, you wanted attention this morning.” I was so taken aback that all I could do was smile, say, “Have a good morning,” and walk away.

Like what? 

First, why was that the only thing she said- no good morning, no “wow, that’s a sparkly dress,” nothing. Second, why did I say nothing in return- no snappy comeback, no Michelle Tanner “how rude,” nothing. 

I go into instant anxiety overload and SHUT DOWN when confronted about anything. My brain cannot think, and my mouth cannot speak. It doesn’t matter if one approaches me in a positive or negative matter; I close up. Then, after the “event,” my anxiety-ridden brain plays the moment over and over, sometimes even years later, for me to review and over-analyze. Yay.

I’ll never be the person who can have a fiery scalding comeback when someone speaks to me as she did. It’s not my personality. However, I should have said something to let her know it’s NOT ok to talk to people like that! So how do I balance learning how to stand up for myself and doing so with grace and kindness?

Learning How To Stand Up For Myself: 3 Tips

1: Breath.

I allow all of the air to exit my body and, in doing so, lose the ability to speak. Maintaining a calm composure and not letting myself become instantly flustered seems like a good starting place.

2: Redirect.

I felt AMAZING in my dress, and I never thought I needed to defend my decision to wear it. The issue was I never get dressed for attention, but rather in a way that makes me happy that day (bring on the dopamine dressing!). Perhaps I could have redirected it back to her and asked, “oh, why did you get dressed this morning?” Too snarky?


3: Sometimes, standing up for myself is walking away.

Looking at it now, I can tell she was projecting her insecurities and biases about fashion onto my poor sequined dress. What would confronting her about her statement have changed about that moment or how I felt? Was she trying to bait me into saying something to make herself feel better? Ultimately, I did stand up for myself, even though I didn’t speak. I didn’t let her make me feel bad about myself or say something I would regret.

Woman posing while wearing a coral blouse and patterned pants and neon heels. Learning how to stand up for myself.
Stylish woman holding a railing while looking at camera.
Woman wearing a bright blouse framing her face with her hands while looking at the camera.
Woman in coral blouse and patterned pants leaning over a railing.
Woman leaning against red wall and holding a teal silk bag. Learning how to stand up for myself.
Stylish woman holding a railing while looking at camera.
Woman standing in a parking lot in a coral blouse and patterned pants.

I’m working on standing up for myself.

Do you have the snappy come-back nailed, or do you shut down?

I’d love to know what you would have done!

BTW. These incredible editorial images are by Jas of JaskProductions in Denver, Colorado! From engagements and weddings to family and editorial shots, Jas is SO SO talented! Definitely check out her website and follow her on Instagram

cursive signature for kait elizabeth