Do you often feel as though you are constantly saying yes to others for fear of being rejected or judged? Do you rarely ever state your opinion on things? Maybe you find it hard to ask for what you want or stand up for yourself when you feel you should?
This can be because you find it hard to be assertive. If this is the case, you may find yourself in a tough situation as the more you let people put their own priorities and opinions over you, the more stressed you may become. I am going to discuss some assertiveness techniques for you to hopefully learn in order to be more assertive. Being assertive doesn't mean you have to be mean or rude, but you can stand up for yourself at times that you need too and be more aware of your own opinion and responsibilities. Firstly, let’s look at why being assertive is important.
As mentioned, being able to know when and how to be assertive can really help you in tough situations. If you are not assertive, you may not be giving yourself enough value and could be putting others before yourself.
If you lack assertiveness, you are likely to experience the following problems:
Now that you are aware of the reasons as to why it’s important that you should be assertive, you can begin to learn how to be assertive in ANY situation. It can be very easy to take a back seat, keep quiet and help others but not yourself, however, if this continues to happen it could cause great stress for yourself.
If you can take these assertive techniques and start putting them into practice, you may start to feel a lot better.
Here are my 5 ways to become assertive.
When you can listen to what someone else is saying and understand their point of view, you can start to look at things differently. As you may be feeling stressed and undervalued, it can be easy to take things to heart.
If someone is criticizing you, try and stay positive and actively listen to what they have to say. Once they have finished, you should be able to see things from their point of view and can politely and respectfully tell them how you feel. If you disagree, explain why, and know that you are not in the wrong for stating your own feelings, this can really help when you are learning to be assertive.
When you are trying to be assertive, you may feel that you are being rude or mean, this is normally not the case. Being assertive is a great way to express how you feel and you do not have to be negative when doing so.
You should respect others, even if you disagree with what you are saying. You should then be able to share your feelings, your wants or needs whilst still thinking of the other person's feelings and being polite.
For example, if someone has asked you to babysit again but you have no time, you can say ‘I really enjoy looking after Molly, but I have too much to do today so I will not be able to babysit, I’m sorry.’ This way you are still being assertive and saying no but in an open and honest way.
You need to try and be aware when you are using passive communication. Passive communication is normally used when you do not believe your opinion is valid or level to others, it can also occur when you have lack of respect for yourself. When you are being assertive, you are expressing your feelings and thoughts to others, even if you both disagree, with passive communication; this normally does not happen.
For example, if someone asks you if you wanted to go out for a day to a place you are not really keen on you may be likely to reply with ‘Yes, of course, that’s fine’, because you do not want to upset anyone or you find it hard to put your feelings above others. Become aware of this and try and change your opinion of yourself and your feelings so that you can improve and start to be assertive.
People can often worry that saying no to others is rude or selfish, but most of the time that is not the case.
You need to focus on yourself and your own responsibilities and then you can decide whether or not you should say no or yes. It is ok to put yourself first, especially if you do not have a lot of time for yourself.
If you constantly give your time and energy to others, this can seriously impact your mental and physical health.
If you can learn to say no, in a polite and respectful way, you are then starting to be assertive. It’s not selfish, you are just setting your own priorities and putting yourself and your time first.
We can sometimes feel like others should know how we feel, even if we have not expressed it ourselves. This can be a problem, as everyone has their own problems or issues and will not always know when you have one. If you can learn how to properly express your needs and feelings you may not be put in as many negative situations, as people will know beforehand how you are feeling.
For example, if you have expressed that you are feeling stressed and that you feel like you need an evening to yourself, your friend should be less likely to ask you for a favor, as they will already know that you are quite busy and won’t need the added pressure.