I think it depends on the situation. As a young child who was bullied and verbally abused; it took a long time for me to learn that everyone is worthy of respect. Over the years, it has become much easier for me to stand up for myself and even easier for me to stand up for others when I see injustice. I think there has to be a certain level of self-worth and self-respect present to give one the courage to say "no, enough!".
I believe in being forgiving, but I am no one's doormat anymore either. Like everything else, a healthy balance. We can certainly learn to be assertive without becoming aggressive.
I didn't get much for example of these life skills growing up. I just took what I saw from others, my job was a great help, and a strong personality sure didn't hurt. Most don't challenge me, the words out, I will stand up to them and the right way.
It is very hard, especially if it's a group of people. I felt very much alone when I was a kid and others were making fun of me. It's hard because if you become angry or hostile, you're seen as the bad guy. All you can do is turn the other cheek.
Even when I was young, I stood up for other kids. For myself, not so much.
Now I would absolutely stand up for myself without question. I believe I am worthy of respect and kindness, and if I'm being mistreated I would let others know.
That said, sometimes people are mean for the sake of venting their own unhappiness. If I can tell that their rudeness or cruel words is more about them then me, and they are not directly hurting me, then I do just let it go. I find adding negativity to a negative situation like that just makes me feel worse. Moving away with my head held high always makes me feel better. For instance, the other day I ran into a high school bully of mine. She wasn't rude to me, but she did make a rude comment to someone else who was walking by her. He just kind of looked at her and continued on his way, and in that case I just don't feel there is any need to say something to her. It wouldn't make a difference and it would just make you feel worse because she would come back with something rude instantly.
But, if it is directly affecting me - like with a neighbor, friend, family member, co-worker, etc., then yes - I have an easy time standing up for myself.
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