Being assertive is a skill that will help you communicate your needs while respecting others. Whereas being aggressive pushes people away and ensures they deny any request you ask of them.
Unfortunately, some people allow others to walk all over them because they think that’ll make them more likable. However, all it does is cause them to lose self-respect and confidence.
They struggle to say “no” so when they really don’t want to do something they’ll still do it. These people are also called “people-pleasers”. If that sounds like you or someone you know, keep reading.
The following is how you can become more assertive:
1. Where do you need to be more assertive?
Ask yourself what you need from others to feel more comfortable, respected, and happy? Do people make you do their work or ask too much of you? Do you feel guilty if you spend time by yourself?
Find out where you need to stand up for yourself more. Also, where you should be more respectful rather than aggressive.
2. Be aware of your emotions
If you have no idea that your blood is boiling, then you’ll never catch yourself before you blow up in a rage. Work on fine-tuning your self-awareness and controlling your reactions.
Believe it or not but you are the only person who alters your emotions. No one can “make” you mad. You are in control of how you handle frustrating situations and you can start at any time.
3. Build up your confidence
You don’t have to sacrifice yourself for others. Work on building your confidence and self-worth because everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
4. Envision yourself being assertive
Speak to your subconscious in its own language— imagination and emotion. Journal about being assertive. Think of this scenario before you go to bed and give it to your subconscious to work on all night.
5. Start saying no
Practice telling people, “no” when they ask you to do something you don’t want to do. The more you decline the less often they’ll assume you’ll do whatever they want.
6. Speak in a calm, assertive tone
It’s important to stay calm or you’ll go from assertive to aggressive real quick. Don’t bust in their room, screaming about something you’ve been fuming about for an hour beforehand.
Sit with them and be mindful of the tone and volume of your voice. Yelling is one of the worst things you can do if you want to reach a compromise this tends to backfire on whoever loses their cool. Besides getting mad will only get the other person angry or they’ll shut down and not listen.
So wait until you’ve calmed down and you can speak in a relaxed tone. Certainly, it’s better to steer clear of unnecessary arguments or drama, just be cool.
7. Start with “I” not “you”
If you want to see someone blow up in a tantrum, start the conversation with the word “You”. Beginning a conversation with an accusatory tone isn’t too bright. Instead, start by saying “I feel” or “it bothers me when you do whatever”. Even better if you started off with some small talk. Ease them into the conversation, don’t dump it on them. Guaranteed, you’ll have a much more successful outcome.
8. Don’t overgeneralize
Most people have cognitive distortions that can make their lives borderline torturous but it doesn’t have to be this way. Some people catastrophize or blow small things out of proportion making it near impossible to get along with them. Or thinking that because the person did this one bad thing that they will always do that.
Many people will overgeneralize in an argument by stating, “You never” and “You always”. But it’s doubtful the other person never or always did whatever it was. Besides, these exaggerated, false thoughts hold you back from cultivating stronger, healthier relationships and happier life.
9. Accept your fault in the situation
None of us are perfect so don’t act like you’re an angel in every situation. Don’t have a victim mindset and have some character and acknowledge that at times, you mess up too. You won’t go far in life if you’re always blaming other people and never taking responsibility. Instead, use active listening skills to show them you care.
10. Read their body language
The only reason you’re confronting this person is that the relationship is important in some way. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be around them.
That’s why it’s essential that you use some intuition and pay attention to their slight facial changes and body language. When you see they’re getting upset, then adjust how you’re interacting with them.
11. See things from their side too
Don’t be totally one-sided and look at things from their side. So, put yourself in their shoes. How do you think your behaviors make them feel? Is there a reason they may have acted like this? Or maybe there’s a problem that needs to be solved in your relationship? Have some empathy and consideration and realize other people have feelings as well. You can see if you can do something for them so it’s a win-win situation.
12. Know when to walk away
For the most part when you’re assertive and you tell others how you’re feeling they will be courteous enough to modify their behavior a bit. But then other people will refuse to listen and get defensive when you tell them how you feel and will explode in anger no matter what. In these cases consider seriously just walking away from them. They won’t work with you anyway so spare yourself the pain and frustration.
In the end, it’s very worth it to learn how to respond with an assertive attitude rather than erupting in rage. You’re far more likely to be treated with respect if you have an assertive mindset rather than an aggressive one.
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