We’ve all heard it at some point in our lives. “You have to be more assertive!” is something that gets thrown around constantly, whether it’d be from family members or co-workers/bosses. But just what does it mean to be assertive? And can assertiveness be something that’s learned or are you just born with it? Taking this into account, we have created a list of tips for those that have wondered what they can do to become more assertive.

Before getting into the list, we should talk a bit more about assertiveness. Assertiveness is characterised as a form of expression in which the person can convey their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a reasonable and polite manner.

Assertive people is also someone that’s able to express their feelings while also keep others’ point of view into consideration. It’s about having respect for yourself and also respecting others.

Assertiveness come up in simple ways, such as you telling a waiter that they got your order wrong in a polite manner, you’re not demeaning them, but you’re also not swallowing your opinion for the sake of others. Assertiveness stands in a different realm than passive or aggressive forms of expression, where you either worry more about others or yourself. So then, how can you become more assertive?

Consider How You Express Yourself and How You Can Change That

The first step in trying to become more confident is to know how you express your ideas and come off to others. Are you passive or aggressive? Are you someone that likes to keep their thoughts silent so as to not inconvenience others? Or maybe you’re someone that likes to boast and speak out about what they think without caring what others might think or feel.

Being passive or aggressive isn’t wrong in and of itself, most people switch around between the two, and there are situations where you merit in being either of the two. But this doesn’t mean that being consistently passive or aggressive is a good thing either.

Sometimes, the way you react and express yourself is related to how you grew up. A lot of people are taught from a young age that they should hide their feelings, or that they can’t let others speak to them disrespectfully. These are all lessons that do come in handy in life but can be misinterpreted and cause us to make assumptions on how we should act.

So, to become more assertive you have first to know how you interact with others. You can note it down in a journal and keep track of the reactions you’d have in certain situations. After that, it’s all a matter of trying to come up with more proper ways that don’t dismiss your feelings. You can start out small by being more assertive in situations like the restaurant example above, or ask someone for something even if you think that you might inconvenience them.

Learn to Say No

If you’re someone that likes to please and help out others, it can be hard to learn when to say no. We all want to feel like we can be relied on, or like people trust us, and that can sometimes put our feelings and health in jeopardy.

Remember that, no matter how much you care about someone or want to help them you can still say no, it’s important to have limits and to know what they are after all. If it’s something that goes against your beliefs or something that you know might end up being bad for you then, would you want to do it?

Try to Consider How People Might React and Plan Accordingly

If you’re someone that’s more used to speaking out their mind, then you might have trouble watching what you say or do. Sometimes it’s hard to plan how others could take what you say. We’re so focused on expressing ourselves that we lose sight of others and stop caring about how our words come off to others, this causes us to come off as rude or violent and could even make people misinterpret what you’re saying.

Now, this is where the journal idea mentioned above comes in. You can take some time to write down your reactions and look at your wording and attitude, once you review this and see what you might’ve sounded like to others then you’ll realise the way you come off. Take some time to gather your thoughts, understand why you react this way and think of ways in which you can convey your feelings and emotions without having to dismiss others and make them feel inferior or afraid.

Remember also to be more open towards what other people might say about you, don’t let it get you down or mad but instead consider it, process it and respond accordingly in a respectful manner.

Speak Clearly

One of the keys to becoming more assertive is to be clear about your feelings. Speak directly and in a concise way, if you do then people will be able to know how you feel and what you want to say. At the same time, remember that your statements are your own, so using words like “I” when you’re stating your opinion will go a long way in making you sound more assertive to others. The reason for this is that you’re taking full responsibility for what you’re saying instead of putting it on someone else.

You will also go a long way in describing why you feel or think the way you do; this will help make things clearer to others. If you’re talking to someone about an issue that you might have then you can also give ideas on what can be done to solve the problem, just listing what you dislike and why is it enough, while explaining how you think it can be remedied.

Practice Makes Perfect

Above all else, if you want to be able to become more assertive then the best you can do is practice. Do some more research on how to become more confident and how you should talk or act. Above all, don’t forget that this isn’t something you can learn in only one day, which is why you have to practice it like you’d do with everything else. You can act it out to yourself or get someone to help and guide you but what matters is that you do your best to improve on it.

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