Confidently standing our ground and expressing ourselves is important. But it may not be as easy as it sounds. Read on to learn more about how to assert yourself!
Assertiveness means being confident and not being afraid of expressing your opinions.
Many people struggle with being more assertive simply because they are afraid of looking/sounding pushy, bossy, or aggressive. But being assertive can help you express your opinions more effectively, communicate more confidently, and improve your relationships in your workplace and in your personal life.
9 Tips on How to Assert Yourself
There are different ways that you can practice assertiveness without looking aggressive or weak.
Believe In Yourself
Assertiveness starts with believing ourselves. You need to believe in yourself, your values, your qualities, and your goals. Your opinion matters. If you don’t believe in yourself and set a place for yourself in society, it’ll be extremely difficult to stand up for yourself.
Communication style is crucial when it’s about being assertive. The critical point is to be respectful to those that you’re communicating with. Your body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and choice of words can show others whether respectfully expressing your opinion or being aggressive.
Expressing opinions clearly is important since people cannot read your mind. If you disagree with something, just stand up straight and say it confidently.
Say "I," Not "You"
Assertiveness is about confident self-expression, so it requires you to say sentences that start with “I” such as “I think..”, “I feel..”, “In my opinion..” and avoid saying things like “You always..”, “You never..”, “You should..” because such sentences will make you sound aggressive and hostile.
One of the critical elements of being assertive is to have boundaries and to be able to realize whether someone is crossing those boundaries or not. Boundaries are the guidelines that mark your safe space and the things that make you uncomfortable. Have a clear idea of the things that you can tolerate and the things you cannot. If you do not have clear boundaries, it will be difficult and confusing to realize when somebody crosses those boundaries.
Take some time to figure out the things you can tolerate by imagining certain situations or observing your daily interactions with others.
If you’re having a hard time when you need to address someone directly, practicing can help you. Practicing situations that you find challenging to deal with can help you get better at it. You can write down different situations and conversations, practice them with a friend, and evaluate how you did afterward. Pay attention to your body language and your voice tone. Ask your friend if you sound aggressive or weak and then try again by adjusting your response.
Give Yourself Time
If you find yourself agreeing to requests and invitations automatically without thinking and you’d like to change that habit, try having some pre-planned phrases that’ll give you some time to think such as “Let me check my agenda,” “I’ll get back to you on that,” “I have other plans” etc.
When you decline a request or an invitation, remember that you have the right to say no, and you do not need to explain yourself.
Control Your Emotions
Conflicts can be difficult for many people. You might find yourself getting angry, frustrated, sad, etc. All these emotions are normal, but they might make things more complicated. If you find yourself getting too emotional, take a moment to breathe and calm down. Try to stay calm, keep your facial expression straight, and your voice firm.
Assertiveness does not mean that other people’s opinions don’t matter. Just as your opinion matters, other people’s opinions matter too. Being able to accept differences and understanding them can help you look at things from a different point of view.
Having different opinions doesn’t necessarily mean you’re right or wrong. Instead of focusing on who’s right or wrong, try finding common ground and use your differences to your advantage.
Have a Strong Image of Yourself
Imagine yourself with a powerful image that will remind you of your worth. Take pride in your abilities, your values, and who you are. You can even try to give yourself positive self-talk before having a serious conversation with someone or before starting your day. It may sound childish, but it actually works!
In conclusion, assertiveness is needed both in professional and personal life. If you don’t want to come off as aggressive or weak, make sure you have a clear idea of your values and your boundaries. Controlling your emotions can help you assert yourself better.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section! What do you do to assert yourself?