Being More Assertive
Being More Assertive
Have you always wanted to become more assertive – to speak up for yourself, express your feelings freely, say no when you want to and stop being a people-pleaser?
One obstacle many people have to behaving assertively is their beliefs about the acceptable ways to interact with other people.
These thoughts become habitual and are strengthened by repeated patterns of thinking and the impact of past experiences.
We tend to assume these beliefs are accurate, seldom stopping to question their validity.
There are many scenarios that could have encouraged someone to be non-assertive.
Some of us were punished when we spoke out so we learned to be passive and quiet.
Other people were given messages about expressing themselves, such as “children are to be seen and not heard”.
As a result they concluded that others did not want to hear what they had to say or how they felt.
Still others were taught that it was selfish to put themselves first, so they learned to be people-pleasers.
On the other end of the spectrum, people were taught that the only way to get their needs met or to get attention was to compete and be “better” than the other person.
They learned how to be aggressive and to win.
Here’s the really important thing to understand.
Assertive communication is direct (clear, concise and to the point), while the others are indirect (hinting, mixed messages and avoiding the point).
Let me re-iterate that, assertiveness is not the same as being aggressive – it’s simply being clear, concise and to the point when stating your position.
When you develop positive beliefs about being assertive, you are more likely to engage in assertive behaviour and to continue acting assertively in the face of criticism and resistance from others.
You are less likely to feel guilty after you have expressed your feelings and opinions or asked for your needs to be met.
You have the right to speak your mind and the right to say no.
Your feelings are valid and you have the right to have your needs met.
You deserve to make the choices that support you.
It takes time and practice to change our communication style and become more assertive.
By recognising which of our old beliefs keep us non-assertive, challenging them and then replacing them with new beliefs that support us being assertive.
We can increase the likelihood of us initiating and maintaining a new assertive and confident style of communication.