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Anxiety after standing up for myself

Community Member

I have recently stood up for myself in a professional setting and I have never felt so anxious. Have you felt something similar? Is this my brain's reaction to me taking a different approach instead of just letting people tell me my worth?

7 Replies 7

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi there,

I use acceptance and commitment therapy, which works with the concept that anxiety is avoidable, and ok, but that we can still fo,low our goals and values without having anxiety tell us it's wrong or dangerous.

I don't think there's a hard and fast rule or answer re if anxiety means we're on the wrong or right path, but I wander if maybe so,e of ACT concepts might be helpful, as they deal with these exact questions, in my opinion, quite well.

Congrats on standing up for yourself! For backing urself, such an awesome step.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Anxious & Assertive,

Welcome to the forums!

Yes!! It doesn't sound like your brain is used to being assertive, so it's natural that you would feel anxiety- anxiety is about the unknown, so when assertiveness is all new it's understandable it would make you anxious.

Well done on being assertive 🙂 As someone who struggles majorly with anxiety this is a massive win.


Hi there,

Thank you so much for contributing. Acceptance and Commitment therapy sounds helpful and I will bring this up with my therapist to see if it will work with my current plan.

Hi rt,

Thank you! Day 5 since event and I feel slightly less anxious and overwhelmed.


Community Member
Well done for taking that leap! I have been in a similar experience in 2018 and I ended up going on stress leave then leaving that work place. I should have stood up for myself a lot sooner but I do want to let you know that you have made the first step in your journey to speak your truth. It is a difficult one but I have now been able to stand up for myself in workplaces and other situations more! Sometimes we just need to take that first step as daunting as it is!

Hi, I find your post very interesting; self-assertion is not something that's really encouraged in society, especially not in power-based relationships like those between employer and employee, teacher and student, parent and child, for example. I know that if I don't take action and assert myself in some way when I ought to and in effective ways I experience all the symptoms of panic (dry mouth, sweaty palms, shaking) and a deep and lasting rage and resentment.

Suffice to say I do have problems with assertion and finding an appropriate and adequate outlet; my parents were very domineering, and I'm made to feel disempowered rather easily by more sure-fire and assertive characters and personalities, my own nature being more approachable, rationed and reasoning (civil and well-mannered) but none-the-less outraged at an injustice or attack. I think alot of it may be conditioning, and often find myself wishing I wasn't so afraid (of being wrong, of being hurt, of being punished, etc)

Thankyou for a thought-provoking post 🙂

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Anxious & Assertive

You're outstanding in so many ways and you have my deep admiration. It's definitely challenging to be outstanding when a lot of the time what we try and do is fly under the radar. Sometimes, to be outstanding gets us labelled (challenging, bi*ch, difficult, crazy and so on). I figure as long as we see our self truthfully, as valuable/worth more than what others may imagine, that's what matters.

While I love to analyse what my brain's doing, why I'm thinking or behaving the way I am, I've found it pays to look at things from 3 perspectives (the magic trifecta), which includes mental, physical and natural.

Mental processing relates to referencing so much stuff. At times, we process what we know, what we don't know, what we need to learn, what we're experiencing at any given time (gaining a greater sense of what's happening in that moment), old beliefs/mental programs, what feelings we're experiencing, what people think of us, where we fit into society, how we're relating to our senses and the list goes on and on. Mental processing can become exhausting.

While physically many of us function in a similar way (heart, lungs, bladder, certain chemical processes etc), it becomes more complex when it comes to how we physically interact with our mental processing. Someone who experiences regular stress or anxiety will more often experience a hyper active brain state and nervous system as well as experiencing somewhat different chemistry.

I find the natural side of things can often be the most interesting facet. While mentally we can work so hard to maintain the often taught persona of 'people pleaser', suddenly we can meet with a whole new sense of self that just won't tolerate one more bit of nonsense. In a first time meeting with this aspect of who we naturally are we can become thoughtless (in a good way). We don't think our way out of saying what comes to mind, we simply vent it while perhaps wondering later 'Where the heck did that come from?'.

Mentally, we can process 'This is what anxiety feels like' or we can process 'This is what great courage and true self love feels like. I'm just not used to feeling it, which is why it feels foreign and uncomfortable'. Naturally you can feel courage interacting with your nervous system as it makes its way from your gut, to your heart, to your throat and out your mouth.

Would you say this experience has led you to discover a new sense of self and it's a matter of 'What do I do now that we've met?'