Do you know how to be assertive without being an ass****? Assertiveness is an important life skill for effective communication as an adult. Consider yourself an adult? Learn how to advocate for yourself and your needs in a healthy way. Even though some people interpret assertiveness as hostility or rudeness, we will learn how to advocate for ourselves in an effective manner.
What Is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is an interpersonal skill. It demonstrates your confidence and allows you to advocate for your needs, desires, and boundaries while being respectful towards others. What I mean is, you are taking care of yourself by looking out for yourself.
How Assertive are You?
A very important part of our life skills is the development of assertiveness. For instance, without it, you could feel disrespected or disregarded in your relationships and career paths. Being assertive is all about feeling confident in your ideas and thoughts. Especially, your belief that you can ask or demand what you want in a calm and effective manner.
Assertiveness is also about refusing to accept what you don’t want. For example, if someone cuts in front of you at the supermarket, do you call them on it or just keep quiet? If you don’t speak up, you probably leave the store feeling angry and frustrated. Am I right?
If you’re an aggressive person, you may react to the same situation by becoming hostile and shouting at the person who cut in line. That type of behavior is unacceptable and can cause serious conflict between others.
You may have problems being assertive with those in authority. For example, elders, bosses, or others who you feel are “above” you. You may not have the confidence to speak up around these people for fear that you’ll lose your job or be looked at as confrontational.
Ask yourself the following questions
- Do you speak up when you disagree with someone?
- Do you do what’s right even though it goes against what others are doing?
- Would you remind a person about the money they borrowed and need to pay back?
- Can you ask for help if needed?
- Can you tell people when you’re disappointed in them?
- Do you tell someone if they’ve hurt your feelings?
- If someone is consistently late, do you tell him how it makes you feel?
- Can you refuse if someone asks you to do something wrong?
Try thinking about people who you really admire? Chances are they being assertive when needed. There’s a fine line between aggressiveness and assertiveness. Of course, people in authority usually know the difference between the two.
Common sense can lead you away from being too aggressive. For example, sometimes feelings are hurt and relationships are lost. Although, as you continue to be assertive, you’ll know when and where the line is crossed. Then you will therefore be able to avoid it.
In my opinion, you should learn all you can about assertiveness, and of course, apply the lessons where needed in your life. The self-esteem that comes from standing up for yourself and demanding that your rights be respected, for example, can transform your life and lead you to success.
The Difference Between Assertive and Aggressive Behavior
Some of us struggle with exhibiting assertive behavior because we confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. It may be especially difficult if you’ve maintained a passive personality most of your life. Because of that, you feel that you may hurt people’s feelings and make enemies if you are more assertive.
If you have been an aggressive person most of your life, it may be very difficult to contain your anger when dealing with others. For example, it may be your way or the highway, and no exceptions.
Did you know that there is a line between both passive and assertive and aggressive and assertive behaviors? Although, you may want to think about crossing the line. However, if you know the traits of the different personalities, you should be able to stand up for yourself without becoming angry and irritated.
A quick guide about using assertive rather than passive or aggressive behavior:
As you can see by the above guides, there’s a huge difference between each of the main personality traits. Assertive traits are admired by all, but they may not be easily accepted – at least, not at first. As you continue on the road to assertive behavior patterns, you’ll find it easier to transform from passive or aggressive to assertive. Just remember to think before you act.
Steps To Being Assertive
- Always ask for you want or need respectfully
- Remember it is ok to say “No”.
- Speak your mind when it is appropriate to do so.
- Don’t forget that you are not responsible for the other person’s response.
- You always have a right to your feelings.
- Use “I” statements when speaking to people.
- Never apologize for your feelings or needs.
Always remember that you can definitely be assertive without being rude. Tactfulness is a thing. So is delivery. Of course, how you advocate for your needs can make a difference in how it is received. You can also be assertive without being aggressive or impolite.
If you use “I” statements to convey your needs it will help prevent the person you are speaking to from taking offense. For example, they will be able to understand that you are stating your needs, and not placing blame. Sometimes people may take assertiveness as rudeness when it is not. This is not your responsibility. Always stay calm, keep it positive and constructive, but speak your needs.
Practice Makes Perfect
Assertiveness comes easy for some but it can cause others to feel very anxious. The thing is, the more you do it the easier it gets. If being assertive does not come naturally for you, you can always start small. For instance, you can practice stating your opinions at home with family first.
We all gain confidence as we go. Firstly, never apologize for stating your wants and needs. Secondly, know your boundaries and beliefs on bigger issues and be ready to peacefully and proactively advocate for your needs.
Don’t Make A Habit Of The Following
- Placing blame
- Sharing your wants and needs in a confrontational or aggressive manner
- Yelling or shouting
- Being unwilling to hear the other person out
Do you know how to be assertive, now? Are you feeling like a true adult!? The number one point to take away from this post is to remember to do your best to stay calm and be diplomatic. Also, understand that you can’t force someone to respect your newfound assertiveness. Only you can know what is best for you and only you can decide what to do if your requests are not honored. Stay true to your integrity and values every day!
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