How To Stand Up For What You Believe In: 5 Essential Bits Of Advice

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Standing up for what you believe in can be a lonely, scary proposition if you’re doing it on your own.

It can be a solitary thing to stand up from the crowd and speak truth to power about a wrong that you feel needs to be righted.

Digging deep for the courage to make that stand is an admirable trait that we should all strive to have.

After all, that’s a way we can ensure that a message will be heard, even if the rest of the world isn’t prepared to listen.

Of course, that can also bring us hardship. It’s not always easy to stand up and do the right thing, even when we are clearly in the right.

There may be social or lasting repercussions that create difficulty in your life.

Many a whistleblower has come forward with critical information about how the powers-to-be were abusing their power and suffered for their integrity.

You need to go into the situation with both eyes open if you want to stand up for what you believe in.

You must be prepared for conflict and to have your life negatively impacted.

There’s a good chance that not everyone is going to applaud your effort. In fact, you may find yourself very alone, even among people you thought were your friends and allies.

How do you stand up for what you believe in? Let’s look at some general considerations that may help you out.

1. Do your research.

Research the subject matter thoroughly.

You want to understand both sides of the argument because it will empower you to more effectively engage the people that disagree with you.

You can formulate your arguments to be more effective if you understand why the other side believes what they do.

It’s also helpful to know if they benefit from the wrong. Greed and power are potent motivators that can push a person to align themselves in a way that benefits them. However, they may not be particularly passionate about it.

The internet can be an excellent place to do that research. You may be able to find groups of like-minded people who can help you.

It may also be worthwhile to join some groups that support the opposing cause to see what is going on in their world and why.

2. Look for the right opportunity.

What does the “right opportunity” look like?

Primarily, you want to minimize damage to your own life and maximize your potential to get the message heard.

It really is no good if you burn down your life to take a stand on an issue that no one’s going to side with you on.

Perhaps you work in an industry that has a lot of abrasive personalities. If that’s normal and you stand up against it, you may just find yourself out of a job with nothing to show for your action.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for what you believe is right; just be smart about it.

Sometimes it’s better to stay quiet and wait for a convenient time, a time when you can speak up and make a meaningful impact on a conversation.

And if you are going to use the internet for that purpose, there are some additional considerations you may want to make.

Assume that anything you write on social media or the internet will be read by your boss. Are you okay with the repercussions?

Write anything and everything on the internet, text messages, messengers, and emails as though it will be read aloud in a courtroom. It may very well be if your actions result in legal action.

3. Keep your arguments short and direct.

The best arguments are short and direct. They are easier for people to understand, and they are much harder for an opponent to attack.

Disingenuous debaters may attack you as a person or try to twist your words into something that it is not.

If you can avoid it, don’t attack the person. Instead, attack the belief that you disagree with.

Attacking the person will elicit a defensive reaction out of them. It may immediately cause other people to side with that person out of defensive solidarity.

Don’t let yourself get pulled off the primary subject matter or into a pointless flame war that goes nowhere.

You will undermine your own point by engaging in mud-slinging with your opponent.

It is tempting to sink to their level and fight it out, but remember that their level is where they feel most comfortable.

They may be used to or even enjoy the kind of clash that disagreement will bring.

You’re not likely to win if you fight on their terms.

4. Leave them with the space to retreat.

Assuming that your argument is on the right side, the other person may realize that they are wrong and change their opinions.

Give your opponents room to retreat and change their opinion.

You also want to leave room if they back down from their stance or don’t care to defend it.

They may be unprepared for resistance, which will leave them off-balance. That’s a good thing for you because it doesn’t look great to anyone else that might be watching. That can help solidify your stance as the correct one.

Don’t pursue or hound the person. Don’t gloat over them to declare how wrong they are unless they keep coming at you about the thing.

Know when the conflict is over and let it naturally end when it needs to.

This approach leaves you with the high ground, which may help win over other people who are on the fence or who haven’t found the courage to speak up for themselves.

5. Choose your battles carefully.

We would like to reiterate: choose your battles carefully.

Yes, there are many unjust and unfair actions in the world. Don’t for a moment think that if you stand up for what’s right that the world is going to be fair and just and side with you.

You can end up losing a lot by trying to do the right thing.

Use your best judgment and really consider if this is a battle that you want to take up.

Also, consider the ramifications of losing or stale-mating the battle as well.

You may stand up, push hard, and get met with an equal amount of resistance, which can also mess up your personal or professional life.

There is much to lose and not always a lot to gain.

By all means, stand up for what it is right if you feel you must, but it’s okay if you don’t too.

It’s also okay to wait for a better opportunity to have a more significant impact.

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About The Author

Jack Nollan is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspectives from the side of the mental health consumer. Jack has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.