Assertiveness means confidently standing up for yourself. And it’s important for all aspects of your life. Read on to learn more about how to be more assertive.
Assertiveness is being confident and standing up for yourself. But it is not always that easy to be assertive without sounding aggressive as there’s a thin line between aggression and assertiveness. And this can cause confusion for many people.
Assertive behavior is based on balance. It’s about being honest and clear about your needs and what you want while being considerate of others’ needs. Assertive behavior comes with empathy, fairness, and firmness.
Aggressive behavior is more about winning. Aggressive people do whatever is best for their interests without considering others’ opinions, feelings, or needs. Being aggressive usually comes with being selfish and pushy.
Assertiveness training helps people to understand more constructive ways to express their needs and feelings. It can also help you to balance your need for self-respect with respect for others. Assertiveness is not about what you want. It’s about how you express what you want.
After understanding what assertiveness is, it is time to build confidence and motivation. Building motivation is an essential part of assertiveness training. Considering the negative consequences of aggression and passiveness can motivate you to be more assertive.
Being passive usually ends up in unhappiness. When you’re passive, you cannot express your needs, feelings, and opinions, which can cause you to feel stuck. It can cause depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Being aggressive can also cause unhappiness because it has its costs. It can cost you the people around you, job opportunities, causing fights, etc. Making a list of negative consequences can motivate you to be more assertive.
Fundamentals of Assertiveness
Assertiveness has some fundamentals such as
- Respecting yourself and others. Maintaining your self-respect and your respect for others while expressing yourself should be the highest priority. It would help if you remembered that your needs and feelings are as important as everyone else’s.
- Defining goals. You should ask yourself what your goal is while arguing or discussing it with someone else. What are you trying to accomplish, or what are you trying to explain?
- Finding your tone. While being assertive, the way we express ourselves is crucial. Body language, voice tone, choice of words are all important. Finding your tone is very important for your assertiveness.
- Timing. If it’s possible, it’s better to wait until the other person is calm. Just like yourself, other people can also feel emotional during conflicts.
- Staying calm. While expressing yourself, you might find yourself getting emotional, which is entirely normal. Conflicts can cause us to feel frustrated, angry, sad, and more. But it is essential to stay calm and express your emotions clearly without letting your emotions interfere with your explanations.
- Body language. Your body language can say one thing, and your words can express something else. It’s important to show with your body language that you are willing to talk things out and try not to look aggressive.
- Being clear and to the point. Bringing out irrelevant issues during a conversation can cause the conversation to change directions, especially if you bring out the past unfortunate events. Be clear about why you’re in such a situation; explain your point without pointing any fingers.
- Saying “I” and not “you.” Starting sentences with “I” will help you explain yourself better without offending the other person. Use sentences like “I feel..”, “I think..” instead of saying “You always..”, “You never..”. Using sentences that start with “you” end up sounding hostile.
- Monitor your behavior. When you’re in a conflict, monitor your thoughts, feelings, actions, whether your actions are reasonable or not, how you feel, and why you feel that way. Self-evaluation is also important in the process of being more assertive. After a conflict, you can think about what happened, how you felt, why you felt that way, how you reacted, what can be different next time, etc.
Practicing assertiveness as much as possible will be very helpful for your training. You can ask a trusted friend or a family member to help you. You can go over some of the past conflicts you’ve had or imagine some different situations and act them out. Afterward, you can do a self-evaluation to see if your reactions and assertiveness are improving or not.
Asking your friends’ or family’s opinions can help too. You can ask them whether you sounded too weak or too aggressive. During practice, you can write down how you usually respond to different situations and then think about how you want to change these reactions.
With the information provided in this article, you can start training yourself to be more assertive. Keep in mind that other people’s responses are not the important thing here. The important thing is to accomplish your goals. Assertiveness is your goal, and you can achieve it if you put your mind to it.