Being assertive shows that you respect yourself and others because you’re willing to stand up for your interests while respecting the boundaries, thoughts, and wishes of others.
If you are an assertive person, you’ll say things such as “I totally understand what you’re saying but I have to disagree” or “That is great, but I’m not interested at this time.”
It’s important to understand assertiveness if you wish to improve your social and communication skills. To help with that, this article defines assertiveness and reveals 7 great tips to help you become more assertive. Importantly, we tell you how online therapy can help you become more assertive.
What Is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is the skill of being self-assured and confident without showing aggression. As an assertive person, you express your point of view clearly and directly while still respecting other people. It is a healthy way of communicating that can be practiced and learned.
If you’ve mastered assertive communication, you can relay positive and negative ideas or feelings openly, honestly, and directly without offending anyone.
Why Assertiveness Is Important
Apart from ourselves, being assertive shows that we respect others and ourselves. Moreover, it shows that you believe in yourself as you come off as neither timid nor pushy. Besides, assertiveness means that you are confident about your interests, feelings, or opinions.
Assertiveness can also help you build healthy relationships more easily because you communicate in a way that respects other people’s views. It also enables you to become better at resolving conflicts.
More benefits of assertiveness include:
- It creates win-win scenarios, leaving everyone happy
- It gives you more job satisfaction since you do not have to compromise anything
- It improves your communication skills
- It help you set healthy boundaries
- It helps you understand and acknowledge your feelings
- It boosts your self-esteem
Assertiveness, Passivity, and Aggression
To become more assertive, first, you need to determine how you express your thoughts and feelings. Are you passive or aggressive in communication?
If you communicate passively, you may allow the needs of others to come before yours. Even though you mean well, passive communication can make you resent yourself with time. On the other end, if you communicate aggressively, you often step on other people’s rights.
So, by knowing where you are between passive and aggressive communication, you can easily identify what you need to work on to become more assertive.
Understanding where you fall on the spectrum between passive and aggressive communication can help you narrow down areas that could use improvement. Note, an assertive communication style is the desirable midpoint between these two.
How to Be More Assertive: 7 Tips
Assertiveness doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Practicing various communication skills and having the right attitude will go a long way in helping you become more assertive.
Let’s now take a look at 7 ways of becoming more assertive:
H3: Evaluate Your Style
Assessing how you communicate is a sure step to becoming assertive. Do you express your ideas or hold on to them? Do you agree with additional responsibilities even when you are quite busy?
Asking yourself these and other questions can help you know what communication style you use. In turn, it enables you to understand what you need to work on to be more assertive.
Use “I” Statements
Using “I” statements lets other people understand what your feelings are without sounding like you are accusing them. For example, you could say, “I+object/verb” instead of “You are wrong.”
Learn to Say “No”
People-pleasing behavior, which includes saying yes for fear of upsetting someone, is usually instilled in us from childhood. But learning to say “no” when you need to doesn’t mean that you are rude or selfish.
In reality, you’re respecting yourself and setting healthy boundaries with your friends, relatives, colleagues, etc.
When you start to respond with “no” more often, you build more authentic and honest relationships with people according to cnns news. Remember, be direct, confident, and firm about your response. Eventually, people will know what they can and can’t ask you.
There are polite ways to tell someone no, like:
- “Thanks, but maybe next time.”
- “That sounds great, but I can’t at the moment.”
- “Thanks for thinking of me, but I’ll have to pass on that.”
- “I appreciate you reaching out to me, but I’m committed elsewhere.”
Practice What You Want to Say
Trying to be assertive can be hard at first when you’re not used to speaking up for yourself. So, practicing what to say in everyday situations can help you be more confident when you talk. Start by writing down some of these responses ahead of time and then practice by saying them out loud.
You can even role-play with someone else to get an idea of how it would play out in a real scenario. The point of practicing is not just to say what you want but also to learn how to say it confidently. People will interpret the words you say plus your tone and non-verbal cues as you’re speaking.
Match Your Words with Body Language
Assertive communication isn’t usually just spoken words. Humans communicate with more than just spoken language, and in most cases, tell a lot with just the body language. If you want to be more assertive, your non-verbal cues should match what you say.
Beware of your body language so that you project confidence even if you’re not feeling too confident. Some body language tips that’ll portray you as assertive include:
- An upright, authoritative posture
- Eye contact
- Calm, composed demeanor
- Positive/neutral facial expression
- Appropriate voice tone, volume, and pitch
Monitor Your Emotions
Disagreements can often elicit explosive feelings like anger, frustrations, crying, etc. If not kept under control, these feelings can lead to aggressive behavior that you or the other person will regret.
Remember, assertiveness is about communicating your thoughts and needs while respecting others.
So, if a situation feels emotionally overwhelming, step back to cool off and “put your emotions in order.” Calm yourself down by doing breathing exercises or sip some water. Only answer once you’ve attained a bit of clarity and can speak calmly.
Start Little by Little
Becoming more assertive won’t happen in a day. You’ll need to build your self-confidence bit by bit. So, begin with more minor situations and then work your way up.
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up when you don’t say what you planned to say in a particular situation. You can always try again the next time you’re in such a scenario.
Assertiveness is an important skill to have, whether in your job, business, social spaces, or home. It’s about respecting yourself, and your mental health, by setting boundaries and speaking up respectfully. Being assertive can definitely do a lot for your wellness including, building your esteem, confidence, and self-worth.
But lacking assertiveness may also be linked with mental health issues like anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. In this case, you will need a therapist to help you work through your emotions, experiences, and beliefs.
You may try online therapy on Calmerry. The therapists there can help you work through your mental health issues and grow your confidence.