“Believe with all of your heart that you will do what you were made to do.”
Orison Swett Marden
It is hard to be assertive and feel good about yourself when you are constantly putting other people’s needs before your own. When you avoid any kind of conflict because you’re afraid, you lose self-respect and feel bad about yourself . If you are not assertive it might be because you taught yourself to avoid confrontation and this causes anxiety.
You don’t like rejection. It’s OK to not want to deal with conflict sometimes, but when it becomes a way of life, you are in avoidance mode. People can push your buttons, knowingly or unknowingly. They get what they want from you and you may let them take advantage.
- Put yourself first. Stand up for yourself and value yourself because other people do this and you can too.
- The goal of an assertive person is to be heard. It is having the ability to say what you think and believe.
- Assertive people are sincere, accepting, non-threatening and exude confidence. If you know people like this, try to emulate them.
- You might think that people are better than you. There will always be someone more educated, wealthier, or better looking but this just makes them smarter, richer, or prettier. Not Better. Your ideas and opinions are important, because they are yours.
- People with anxiety tend to have lower self-esteem than others, and often compare themselves as not being good enough.
- Try not to compare yourself because you’re the one and only you. Nobody will ever be like you which is something to celebrate. You can only be yourself – because everybody else is taken.
Ways to help you be more assertive:
1. If you need to confront or criticize someone, try giving him a compliment first.
Example: “Thanks for all the work you’re doing. Can I just point something out to you?”
2. Use “I” messages when you are want to make a point.
Don’t say this: “You never help me clean the house.”
Say this: “I’m feeling really overwhelmed, would you be able to take care of the laundry?”
3. Don’t apologize when you are sharing your opinion.
Don’t say, “I’m sorry that I don’t agree with you, but I just feel this way.”
Say, “ Thanks for your thoughts. – I feel this way.”
4. You’re opinion is valuable
Everybody has an opinion and yours is just as good. A quote from my mother helped me feel more confident. “Opinions are like a–holes, everybody has one. LOL – thanks mom.
If you are not standing up for yourself, it takes practice to speak your mind. Agreeing with people just to keep the peace is going to make you feel bad.
You might sound a little aggressive at first because you’re looking for opportunities to practice. But this balances out eventually. You may even surprise people when practicing this new skill. They will get used to you, just taking care of yourself.
5. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You will gain respect AND feel better about yourself.
Say what you mean: In other words, don’t make up an excuse if you are asked to do something that you don’t want to do. Lying about it can come back to you. Just say, “Thanks so much for asking but I can’t.”
Mean what you say: Don’t say things if you aren’t going to follow through. “I will call you for lunch, or let’s get together”, just to make the other person feel better.
Make a conscious commitment to mean everything you say and you will feel a whole lot better.
6. Take time to get back to somebody to give yourself more time to decide what you want.
If someone wants you do something and you aren’t sure what to say, ask for a day or two and get back to him/her. This way you are not making a decision too quickly that you might regret.
7. Be careful not to get angry.
People shut down and tune us out once we start yelling. Think about how many times our kids do this to us when our voices get a little bit louder. They go right into defense mode, ignore what we say and think about how mad they are at us for getting mad at them. Angry people seem out of control.
8. Find a new situation everyday to practice being assertive.
Don’t worry about people not liking you or not wanting to be around you because you are practicing to be assertive. I remember jumping in at the opportunities to practice but I eventually learned how to come back to the middle. Your family and friends will love you no matter what.
9. Put your needs first before you help others.
Think of being on an airplane. If you need the oxygen mask, you must put it on yourself first before you can help your child. Nobody in your life is going to be better off if you are not putting your needs first first. We want our kids to see that we take time for ourselves.
10. There is no need to be right or prove others wrong.
Most times it’s nice to just be a listener. Once you get good at being assertive it is freeing not to feel like you have to offer your opinion. People generally like to talk. And you know what you already know. So being a listener is a good opportunity to be a learner.
Assertive does not mean selfish. People who know how to take care of themselves are respectful, polite, persistent and happier because of it.
Conflicts do come up. You can practice dealing with the situation with an eye on taking care if yourself in the process. You deserve to get what you want in life, and being assertive will give you self confidence and respect from others. Maybe one day people will want to emulate you for knowing how to take care of business:)
I stopped saying yes when I wanted to say no
I would say yes to telemarketers, just because they asked me! Even worse – they were on the phone and the only thing they knew about me was my name. I didn’t want them to think I was selfish by not giving to their cause. Learning how to be assertive saved me a lot of money, time, and confidence. Now I plan which charities to donate to ahead of time. This way I feel good about helping and I can say no to others (just because they ask) without feeling guilty.
Who do you have a tough time being assertive with? What situation do you need to practice?
Daring Greatly, by Brene’ Brown
Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt.
But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena—whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation.
Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen. “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”