Your core values are a fundamental quality of your personality and sense of who you are. They define the concepts and principles that shape your being and influence your choices throughout the course of your life. Most of the time these values work quietly behind the scenes as they subtly influence your thoughts, speech, and actions. However, on occasion you may find the need to stand up for your beliefs and hold firm to what you believe to be right and true. Doing so in a skillful, conscious, and non-confrontational manner can make all the difference in helping your perspective be heard in a firm, yet compassionate way.
Consider the following suggestions whenever you feel the need to hold firm to your beliefs in the face of opposition:
Know What You Believe and Stand For
While this may sound like an obvious first step, it is one that can be easily overlooked. Dedicate some quality time to prioritize your fundamental beliefs. Write them down in order of importance so you can clearly see what matters most in your life. This is also a perfect opportunity to connect with your higher self through meditation. By tapping into the deeper level of your soul regularly, you can more easily access the most profound qualities and values you wish to embody.
Consciously Choose Your Battles
It’s important to recognize that not all situations require you to defend your beliefs tooth and nail. As the great military general Sun Tzu once said, “If a battle can’t be won, don’t fight it.” When circumstances arise that may challenge your beliefs, consciously consider if it ranks high enough on your list of values to take a stand for or if it’s not worth the time and energy involved in trying to convince another. Remember the well-known adage: A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
Take Action or Say Something
Once the conscious choice is made to stand up for your beliefs, commit to taking action. Take a deep breath, muster your courage, and speak up; take a stand and point out that a line has been crossed. This is not a time for neutrality—your beliefs aren’t much good if you’re unwilling to act upon them. Being an agent of change requires that you call forth the fearlessness of your soul to speak through you and hold firm to what you know to be true and right.
Speak with Impeccability
When standing up for your values, it’s vital to be impeccable and skillful in your speech. Assertively hold the line yet strive to be courteous and polite while defending your point of view. Understand there is a difference between criticizing another’s beliefs and attacking them as a person. Try to take the higher road and utilize what Buddhists call Right Speech: abstaining from lying, divisive and abusive speech, or idle chatter. Essentially, you should speak only words that do no harm, especially when defending your beliefs.
Remain Objective and Avoid Emotional Reactivity
When boundaries of beliefs are threatened, it becomes very easy for the situation to escalate emotionally. In such situations, it is key to remain objective and maintain a clear head. Try to see the issue from a removed, third-party perspective. Avoid taking things too seriously or personally and work to remember that your true identity is the ever-present witnessing awareness that doesn’t judge or evaluate; it simply observes. Harness that stillness to project a calm, confident energy as you stand up for what you believe in.
Compassionately Respect Other People’s Perspectives as Valid for Them
While you may not agree with their perspective, those who challenge your values have beliefs of their own, which from their perspective are completely appropriate. The experiences of your life have shaped your choices and beliefs, and the course of another’s evolution is just as sacred and valid as your own. Oscar Wilde is keen to remind us that, “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” Their soul has chosen a life with its own set of unique challenges and opportunities, and you are not qualified to judge those choices. The best you can do is to compassionately work to find the middle ground where you can coexist in harmony.
Let Go of the Outcome
Remember, your objective is to stand up for your beliefs, not necessarily change another person’s beliefs. Sometimes, it may be enough to hold your ground and be a voice for what matters to you. Having done so, you can let go of trying to change others and let the universe handle the outcome. Know that every thought, word, and deed that supports the expansion of peace, harmony, compassion, justice, honesty, truth, and love influences the collective consciousness of the world. Or as Robert F. Kennedy put it:
Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.