If you’re wondering why your voice is getting lost in the crowd, well, this just means you’ll have to step it up a bit. Here’s how to be assertive.
I had an issue with assertiveness when I was in high school. Maybe it was because I was insecure and terrified of being judged. However, I learned the hard way that if you don’t speak up, no one will do it for you.
How to be assertive – 17 tips to find your voice
With anything, it’s a work in progress. Of course, everything’s a lot easier when you know what you should work on. Trust me, it took me a lot longer than it needed… I really wish I had Googled it. But, you’re on here, so you’re one step ahead of the game.
There’s a fine line between being assertive and aggressive, it’s all about balance.
#1 Accept it. You’re going to have to accept the fact that you’re not assertive. If you’re reading this, you already have a feeling that you need some help. However, now it’s time for you full-out accept it. You’re not assertive. It’s cool, but now you can start to change. [Read: 16 reasons why you’re always being taken for granted by others]
#2 Baby steps. Don’t go trying to achieve all these big goals at once, because they’re going to overwhelm you. You need to start with baby steps.
So, start with small goals. It can be as simple as starting to say “no” when you don’t want to do something. You probably don’t think that’s hard, but trust me, these small goals can be quite challenging.
#3 Say no. When learning how to be assertive, this is step number one. I had a really hard time saying no. In fact, I did a lot of shit and wasted a lot of hours just because I couldn’t say no. This step may actually be the hardest one. Why? Because for the first time, you’re trying not to please other people. This is about what you want, not what they want. [Read: Are you a people pleaser? 20 signs most people just don’t see]
#4 Don’t you dare feel guilty. If you say no to something, don’t feel guilty. You didn’t want to do it, so why would you feel bad about it? Listen, you not wanting to go out for dinner is not bringing immense pain to anyone. They will find someone else to go to dinner with them. They will live.
#5 Express your wants and needs. If you want to know how to be assertive, people need to know what you want and what you need. If you’re in an unsatisfying relationship, have you told your partner what your needs and wants are? People cannot read your mind, so don’t expect them to know what you want.
#6 Talk about your feelings. This is another huge issue with people who aren’t assertive. No one knows how you feel because you’re “okay” with everything. No! That’s not how the world works. I know you’re not happy about having to go to your friend’s Pyramid-scheme meeting. However, she didn’t how you felt, so enjoy sitting there for two hours. [Read: How to stand up for yourself – Get what you want and deserve]
#7 You have to be honest. Honesty really is the best policy, and it’s necessary if you want to know how to be assertive. You need to be honest, not just with the people around you, but with yourself.
Actually, start off by being honest with yourself, and then everything else will fall into place. If you’re not honest with yourself, you won’t be able to be assertive.
#8 It’s okay to disagree. Not everyone is going to like you. This is what I had an issue accepting when I was trying to be assertive. Really, I wanted everyone to like me. But listen, it’s just not going to happen, and it’s for the best. Imagine if everyone liked you? Gross.
#9 Stay calm. There’s a line between being assertive and sounding like an angry, possessive, asshole. You need to know the difference. Stating your feelings and needs is one thing, yelling them and forcing them on others is a different thing. Don’t do the latter. You’re not trying to get people on your side, you’re simply trying to let people know where you stand.
#10 Conflict resolution. Assertive people don’t start throwing punches when they don’t get their way. It’s about compromising and using conflict resolution as a way to get through arguments and group issues. This is what makes you a leader as opposed to someone who uses fear to resolve conflict. [Read: 14 calm ways to recognize mean people and deal with them]
#11 Look at your body language. You should try standing in front of the mirror and see how you use your body in conversation. Are you positioned aggressively? You may not be verbally aggressive, however, your body language could be giving off completely different vibes. You don’t want that, so try to get them in sync.
#12 Use the word “I.” You probably think this sounds narcissistic, but it isn’t. Use the word “I” when you’re talking about yourself. “I need___” or “I want___.” It’s about you, right? So, starting talking like it’s about you. Using “I language” is a necessary part of learning how to be assertive. [Read: How to express your opinions without coming off as cocky]
#13 Patience is a virtue. This is going to take a while. Sorry to break the news, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? You’re going to have your ups and downs with this, so it’s important to be patient and calm. You’re going to get to where you need to be… eventually.
#15 Know when you screwed up. You’re going to make mistakes. If you haven’t made any by now, well, you need a reality check. You need to take responsibility when you screw up. That’s what mature, well-rounded people do. They know when they screwed up and they admit it.
You’re not going to get shot by being honest. In fact, people appreciate those who just accept the faults in their actions.
#16 You cannot control people. Being assertive is about letting other people hear your thoughts and views, however, it’s not about you shoving your opinions down other people’s throats hoping to change them. This isn’t about them, it’s about you. So just focus on yourself. The only person you can control is you.
#17 Pick your battles. Have you ever talked to someone who argues with every little thing you say? If you have, you probably don’t hang out with them anymore. It’s annoying. It’s like watching a pit bull that won’t let go of his prey.
Pick your battles. It’s important to have boundaries, however, if those boundaries are crossed, decide how you’re going to deal with it. You probably don’t need to have a full-blown fight every time.