This piece is intended for parents as much as it is for kids.
There are times when we need to stand up and there are times when we need to sit it out. There are no specific rules when one is better than the other. We need to assess each situation independently to determine the best approach. In doing so, I wanted to share a few things that have helped me to stand up in hopes that it will inspire all of us to think and act more favorably.
How we are received is determined by how we present ourselves. First, we need to begin by literally standing straight. A good posture and holding ourselves high can really impact the way we feel and how others will respond to us. There are days when that will be easier to do than others, but we must remain vigilant about holding ourselves high. It will not only affect how we feel about ourselves, but it will also impact how we deliver our message and, in turn, how positively someone else will respond to it. I have found that when I am getting resistance or even when I am not feeling confident, I try to straighten up to change the direction of my message and its reception. And, it actually works. We can be impactful by making modest adjustments and being cognizant with how we come across. Little things can make a big difference.
Second, like with posture, we can use our voice to stand up, but that does not mean we should talk louder. In fact, I find the most effective people are those that use a calm and respectful demeanor to be heard. We can convey our views with greater impact when we are thoughtful and measured in what we say and do. By being respectful of others, we will garner respect for ourselves. So instead of yelling to get what we want, take a breath or a moment and try to deliver even frustration or disappointment with kindness and understanding. Only when we treat others well do we truly feel good about ourselves. We will see that by taking a kindhearted approach, others will be more willing to rise to the occasion and will feel valued and valuable. We just need to know how to bring out the best in others and ourselves. At a very basic level, everyone wants to be treated nicely and with compassion. Again, small modifications can deliver big payoffs. And, when we falter, we have the opportunity to do better the next time as long as we stay mindful about how we use our voice.
Third, now with a good posture and peaceful approach, we need to make sure we stand up for injustices. We see them each and every day. We can only make the world a better place by consistently trying to make a difference, choosing to support one another and adhering to a moral fabric and strong value system. Opportunities to stand up can present themselves in the face of bullies, mean spirited people, inequities, and everything in between. We are all change agents and can make a difference in the world and in someone’s life by defending what is right.
Some things like posture and the delivery of our message are perhaps easier to correct than effecting broader change. However, with any of those things, standing up requires courage and conviction, and it breeds confidence, compassion, kindness, and empathy. In the end, standing up is about a desire to champion consistently for positive outcomes, to want to be heard and ultimately live better lives. If someone feels like another person cares enough to do something to help, it brings people together and creates more happiness and hopefulness in our world.
On the other hand, when we are not able, passionate, centered, or living in integrity, we should sit it out and use the opportunity to be reflective and clear about what we want and what we stand for. And while we wait to get clarity, sometimes, if we let things go, they will resolve themselves. In certain instances, action and reaction is not always best. A lot can happen organically and sometimes we need to wait it out. If we wait and are patient, we should also get clear about what we want, what we want to be known for and what we want out of our own lives and the lives of future generations.
Whether we choose to stand up or sit it out, it is important to be engaged, open to different perspectives and willing to offer our unique and genuine contributions to each other. If we all try to do more good than harm, work collaboratively and accept that we really can make a difference, we will. We must stay vigilant about trying to do better and determine when we need to stand up and when it might be best to sit it out. Both approaches are certainly a process and can be impactful in different ways and at different times.
In the end, we simply need to remember to hold ourselves high, speak with gentleness and stand up for something greater than ourselves.