Do you find that people walk all over you because they know that you find it difficult to stand your ground?
We find ourselves in difficult situations when we’re not confident to speak up for ourselves or when we don’t articulate our wants and needs clearly.
Assertiveness is the ability to articulate those wants in a manner that won't hurt others. It’s a trait that has benefits in all aspects of our lives, from socializing to our careers.
Here are Seven Savvy Approaches You Can Use in Order to Develop Assertiveness.
1. Respect yourself.
Assertive people respect what others have to say. They also respect themselves enough to know that they have valid ideas and opinions that should be respected.
People who don’t believe in themselves are passive communicators. They rarely voice their opinions, and it can be easy to take advantage of them.
Develop a respect for yourself. Believe in your skills and abilities. There are others who can benefit from hearing about what you have to say.
2. Identify your habits.
Assertiveness is a trait. It’s not a natural talent.
The good news is that we can learn and develop traits. But before doing that, you need to determine where you fall on the assertiveness scale.
- Very low down the scale is passiveness, which shows up as a lack of confidence, low self-worth, hesitancy and an averted gaze.
- On the opposite end of the scale is aggressiveness – being condescending, egotistical and physically dominant towards others.
Where do you appear on that scale?
3. Mind your words.
- When you communicate with assertiveness, you need to be aware of the needs, feelings, and opinions of the other person.
- You don’t want to use language that implies that your methods or your opinions are the only logical options.
It is tricky to find the right balance between being assertive, aggressive (overly assertive) or passive (not assertive enough).
Choose your words carefully, remembering that the key to the right amount of assertiveness is respect.
4. Say no.
As much as we would like to do all we can for people, we have a limit
. Sometimes we have to learn to say no.
When people expect us to always say yes, it’s a challenge to change that perception.
You need to put yourself first. When your needs are taken care of, then you can help others. If you put others first, you are just weakening yourself in the long term - and will be able to help others even less in the future.
Make it clear what’s acceptable and what isn’t. If you know you won’t be able to help them for whatever reason, tell them that upfront - honestly.
5. Mind your body language.
Body language plays a big part in showing assertiveness.
- Assertive people speak clearly and confidently.
- They maintain eye contact, and they have good posture.
- They have no problems expressing their emotions.
- They show that they are paying attention to what the other person has to say.
You want to relax your body - being tense or unbalanced shows your nervousness. Our stance and gestures show that we have confidence in what we are saying.
Active listening and appropriate feedback show assertiveness.
Think about occasions when you could have shown more strength.
- What would have been the outcome?
- Would you have needed to be much more assertive?
- Or would you have only taken it up a notch?
Replay the scenario in your head and practice what you could have said to achieve the ideal result. Why not role-play the situation to make it more realistic?
Remember, it’s about achieving the right balance, so don’t be hesitant to ask others to find out what they think.
Stress affects the way we communicate. It often leads to aggression.
Adopt habits that minimize the stress in your life. If your mind is at ease, you can clearly ascertain your needs and express them effectively to others.
Don't worry. We can help you out. Use this guided meditation audio and learn how to be more assertive.
With the right balance and with enough practice, assertiveness is a positive force in forming well-rounded and mutually respectful relationships with others.
How do you show assertiveness? Or what holds you back form becoming more assertive?