Being assertive means being direct about what you need, feel, or want in a manner that is respectful of others. It is a powerful communication skill that is paramount in reducing conflict and improving relationships. All of us would like to stand our ground with confidence and openly express our feelings, but it doesn’t always come easy. The line between being assertive and coming across as too strong or pushy can be hard to determine. You also don’t want to come off as weak or insecure.
Determine your Communicate
The first step of becoming more assertive is determining how you communicate in life. Is your communication style passive or aggressive? If it is passive, you are often worried about the needs of others over your own. This style of communication can cause resentment over time. If you have an aggressive style, you are actually impeding on the rights of others and bullying.
If you are one of those people that tends to say yes, even when you are asked to do things you are not interested in, plan your responses in advance. If you are asked a question, tell them you will have to check your calendar or let them know you need to get back to them. Never feel boxed in an unable to say no to an event, feel empowered and be ready to politely bow out of events you are not interested in.
Don’t Feel Guilty
If you find yourself feeling guilty about rejecting invites, remember you are only rejecting the event and not the person. If you start to reject too many events from the same person, consider picking an event that won’t be too stressful.
Use Positive Self-Talk
As cheesy as it sounds, talking to yourself mentally is a great way to pump yourself up with positive self-talk. Tell yourself that you are going to take care of things and to remember that your time is important.
If you have a big issue or a difficult conversation that is imminent, practice the conversation with someone else and determine how you want to verbally approach the topic. Your friend can provide feedback and you can watch their response to see if you are communicating properly without becoming hostile.
Believe in Yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself, others are not going to believe in you either. Believing in yourself gives you the ability to be confident and assertive and allows you to get what you want in life.
If you are having problems finding the right words, consider talking with a qualified therapist. A therapist can work on your stress and anxiety, which can get in the way of an assertive demeanor.
Just as you want to be heard, others do as well. Realize that others may have different views from your own and the differences do not make one person right over another. Listen carefully and respectfully when someone tries to speak their truth.