How to Stand Up for Yourself, Even if You’re Anxious

how to stand up for yourselfWhen you suffer with anxiety or panic attacks, it is important to be really good to yourself. I know I preach this, but my natural tendency is to put myself last on the listย  (I put everyone else in the family’s needs before mine). So when I joined my local gym the other week for yoga, I was really proud. Proud that I didn’t cheap out on myself as usual, and proud that I actually went.

Learning to stand up for myself is another part of being good to myself, and this too is something I’m learning one day at a time. I need to explain the new gym thing to get to the standing up for myself with anxiety, so stay with me here….

The other day I went to a yoga class and not one but Three of my really cliquey neighbors were there also in the class, one of whom does not talk to me or acknowledge me for reasons that are really bizarre (she hates my dog and got pissed at me a few years ago because I don’t walk him with a muzzle.)

Anyways, when I walked into the class and saw the mean girls standing there, I did have a panic attack on the spot. I was thrown completely off guard, I sure as hell didn’t think they would take yoga as none of them strike me as the serene, peaceful type.

Anyways, my first instinct was to RUN, leave the class, escape, you know, the usual stuff that happens when we get a panic attack. I’m proud to say I didn’t. I decided I had to face my fears, and act as if I was not nervous. I was shaking, but I stayed and did all my poses and tried the best I could to focus on my breath and the teacher. It wasn’t perfect, but the fact that I stayed despite the panic attack and the girls that bother me was a *huge*success for me.

Now onto today, and how I stood up for myself…

I was at Kohl’s picking up a few things I needed. They were having a big sale so there were more people than usual. I hadย  sneakers for my husband in the cart and was looking for a pair for me. I left my cart and went a few shoe aisles over to try on a few pairs that were on sale.

When I went back to my cart, there was a lady standing next to it. Her purse was in the it, and my husband’s sneakers had been removed. It was so obvious she had taken the cart- maybe she thought someone had abandoned it.

In my nicest voice I said, “Ma’am I’m sorry, but I was using that cart.”

Her response was weird.

“This is my cart! I got it in the front of the store!!!”

(Um, Ok…so why are you screaming at me?)

I was really angry (fuming) but I did what I usually do and just backed away from confrontation. It wasn’t a huge deal, but she was being a bully and I wimped out. Feeling like a coward, I went to the front of the store for a new cart. There were no carts left, so I was left using a double baby stroller connected to a cart, which was ridiculous since I don’t have any babies, but whatever.

I was now in the girl’s coat section looking for winter coats, and mentally beating myself up for being lowly as usual.

And that’s when I saw the shopping cart thief coming up the aisle.

I guess I felt empowered by staying through my yoga class the other day even though that neighbor that hates my guts was there. I just needed to say something to stand up for myself.

As she was going by me, she gave me a big smile. I gave her a big smile back and said,

“I know you took my cart back there. It’s not a big deal, but that wasn’t very nice.”

She argued back that it was her cart and blah blah blah, but the point is that I stood up for myself- even though I was anxious.

I didn’t engage with her any further as I was not trying to get into an argument. That wasn’tย  the point. I just wanted to make a point- nicely but firmly– and I did. My heart was pounding in my chest and I felt scared but I did it anyways.

Here’s a tip I learned in Al-Anon: Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean. I am starting to learn to stand up for myself, even though I feel anxious when doing it. And it feels really good. ๐Ÿ™‚

I left the store feeling lifted- it gave my self esteem the boost I needed today.

How are you when it comes to standing up for yourself?

I wish you peace,

Jill G.

Want to know how I’m doing so well after suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for so long? I recommend and use Panic Away. Click on the link to get started today and reclaim your life from fear.
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8 Responses to How to Stand Up for Yourself, Even if You’re Anxious

  1. Marlon says:


    it was very wise what you did. i’m mentaly beating myself down when i’m coming to this so you really helped me out. thank you very much ๐Ÿ™‚

    say what you mean but don’t say it mean.


    Marlon from The Netherlands

    • JillG says:

      Hi Marlon,

      Trying your best to mentally build yourself up on the inside while trying to navigate the world with anxiety is no easy task. But yeah, it feels good to stand up for yourself appropriately ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Courtney says:

    Im glad you are learning to stand up for yoursel and fight your foes. Im a sixteen year old girl amd I have been suffering from cases of cyber bullying from a particular boy. Hes calling me names, spreading rumors, and making my life a living hell. I have my family and my friends that havent quit on me. Today, i finally stood up to my torturer. I told him that i didnt believe I was a bitch whore, nor was I ugly or a failed abortion. I simply said that I had hope inside myself and that there is nothing he can do to tear me down anymore. I have faith in myself and God and all of this will blow over soon. Im sick and tired of having to take these insults and the glares i get from people. It was time for me to do something for myself, and I did. You were the one that inspired me to stand for myself against my bully though. Your article encouraged me and I thank you for that.

    • JillG says:

      Good girl Cortney. I’m glad you stood up to him, but with a bully like this, it’s probably best now to now respond anymore. He sounds like a real mean person. If he continues to harass you I would report him. It’s not ok to be bullied.

  3. Aimes says:

    Thanks for your story, I can relate.
    I stood up to my manipulative sister-in-law (because my husband wont) and I felt so empowered afterwards. But from the following day onwards, I’ve been feeling awful. I wasn’t nasty to her and spoke to her calmly and nicely, and she fired back a lot of excuses for her behaviour, but she is a very intimidating person and I feel I might have ‘fueled the fire’ rather than help the situation.
    Now I feel panicked and can’t stop thinking about it, and regret saying anything.
    I’m 34 years old and always just taken things as they are.
    Are my feelings a part of finally standing up for myself? Or should I have waited for my husband to say something to her?

    • JillG says:

      Well, since you’re not used to doing this, you’re going over and over about it in your mind. I do that too. I think it may be part of trying a new behavior. You say you felt empowered afterwards, so I think the feelings are just a little self doubt. I would try to remember the feeling of empowerment, as well as why you stood up to her in the first place.

      Try not to doubt yourself. Be steadfast in your resolve that you did this. You didn’t kill anyone, you said what you felt needed to be said. Take a deep breath and let it rest. Your feelings will pass. If you took it back, your s-i-l might continue to think she can manipulate you and your hubby. Good luck!

  4. Aimes says:

    Thanks JillG,
    I have managed to control the whirlwind of emotions I had after speaking to her. I had been repeating things in my head constantly. No sleeping or eating, just stomach churning and anxiety.
    It actually felt better when I saw her recently. Even though she initially ignored me, I gave her a hug and a kiss and said it was nice to see her. I felt so in control of myself and feel like I have some power back (and my anxiety lessened).
    And even though she is still arrogant and nasty, I feel so pleased that I spoke to her. At the very least, she knows that I am aware of her behaviour. Perhaps she’ll think twice in the future. Or perhaps it’s made her worse. But I have definately grown from this experience and will hopefully find it easier to stand up for myself in the future.
    Thanks for your advice JillG ๐Ÿ™‚

    • JillG says:

      I’m sure it will be. And good for you that you let her know how you feel. I doubt it made her worse, she sounds like she’s her own worst enemy. Good job!

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