Do you think that people ask too much from you and it’s hard for you to say no? Do you lending money to friends or family even when you don’t have enough for yourself? Have you ever stood in line at a bank or post office and someone came after standing in front of you and you didn’t say a word? If your answer to most of the questions is yes, you have a problem with assertive communication.
What is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness means standing up for your personal rights – expressing thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in direct, honest, and appropriate ways. In this communication is important to respect other people’s feelings and opinions.
It’s a common belief that we should be obedient in order to show respect or love to someone. The truth is that in that way you don’t respect yourself and your feelings and needs. Do you think that people respect a person who doesn’t respect herself? I don’t think so.
Being assertive involves taking into consideration your own and other people’s rights, wishes, wants, needs, and desires. It’s ok not to share their opinion, but still, you can have great relations and communication.
How to Became Assertive?
To be more assertive, you need to understand yourself first and to believe in yourself. This self-belief is the basis of self-confidence and assertive behavior. It will help you to recognize that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, give you the confidence to stick up for your rights. But keep in mind that your needs and rights are just as important as everyone else’s.
Do you know how to actively listen? Listening to the views of others and responding appropriately, whether in agreement with those views or not is part of assertive behavior.
It’s important to accept responsibilities and to be able to delegate to others. Remember that you can only control yourself and your own behavior, so do your best to stay calm if things get tense. As long as you are being respectful and not violating someone else’s needs, then you have the right to say or do what you want.
Accept both positive and negative feedback graciously and positively. If you don’t agree with the criticism that you receive then you need to be prepared to say so, but without getting defensive or angry.
Saying “No” is hard to do, especially when you’re not used to doing it, but it’s vital if you want to become more assertive. Remember that you can’t please everyone so it’s important to set boundaries.
And, of course, being able to admit mistakes and apologize is an important and hard part for most people.
You may for example find it easier to be assertive to your partner than to your boss or vice versa. However, whether it’s easy or not, assertive communication is always going to be better for you and for your relationship with the other person. It likely won’t happen overnight but, by practicing these techniques regularly, you will slowly build up the confidence and self-belief that you need to become assertive.
Do you behave assertively already, or you planning to? What is the most difficult part of that?