I made myself cry a bit with this one. Usually, I don't explain my poems because either they're rather obvious or I'm just playing with words. This one, however...
I've been in some situations that were basically abusive, but they were just, you know, life. It wasn't even that I figured I was a lousy person who deserved it. I just thought, this is it. I didn't know that it was possible for people like me to have safety.
I don't really want to get into too much detail, but, basically, I want to stress the importance of being objective. Like, more objective than you think you are being. Don't wait for you to find yourself in a bad situation, because these things rarely make themselves known. They sneak up on you, little by little, and if you stay quiet and polite because you don't want to rock the boat (a.k.a. the other person's comfort is more important than your well-being = you ultimately assume you deserve to be mistreated because, in a way, you're justifying the other person's behaviour), it's not like you can "pay your dues" and things will start to turn around. They just keep getting worse. It's okay to stand up for yourself, and if that makes people hate you, then that just tells you the kind of people you need to watch out for.
The title has a double meaning. Don't look down = don't be afraid of climbing out of your situation. Also, don't keep your head down = don't be ashamed. Stand up for yourself.
Dammit, I'm crying again.