You deserve to be heard. You deserve to have your needs met and your desires fulfilled. You deserve people who will respect you and not take advantage of you. And yet for some reason, we live in a world where people can get away with treating others terribly and still feel justified in their actions.
It’s time to cast that attitude aside and start engaging with the world from a place of strength instead of fear – it really is your right! Read on for 15 ways you can turn yourself into an assertive person without crossing over into aggression so that other people don’t walk all over you ever again!
Get clear on what you want
Being assertive means being able to speak up for yourself, but you can’t do that if you don’t know what it is you actually want or need! If your partner wants sex and you only wanted to cuddle, saying “yes” because you thought they would be satisfied with that can quickly turn into an unpleasant situation for both parties involved. It’s important to get in the practice of clarifying your desires so that everyone knows exactly what they’re getting into before anything happens!
Be specific about what makes something assertive versus aggressive
It’s harder than it sounds! Every time someone does something we don’t like, it’s human nature to react emotionally, and often that reaction is a demand for something like “stop it!” or “I don’t like that!” However, those reactions are aggressive – they put the other person on the defensive and don’t actually solve anything. An assertive response would be something like “when you do that, I feel uncomfortable” which allows the other person to understand your perspective without feeling attacked.
Stick to “I feel” statements
If you want something from someone, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using them as a means to an end – but that puts the other person right in their uncomfortable place! Instead, try saying “I feel…” and wait for your partner to fill in the blanks with how they’re feeling – or not feeling if they don’t want what you do! If someone says “no” to something you really need, take a moment and reflect on whether asking again is going make things worse or better.
Practice active listening
This is an incredibly important part of listening to what other people have to say, but it’s also something that many people forget! You can’t make your point clearly if you’re not actively listening to the person you’re talking to. While they may be speaking, start brainstorming ways you could implement what they’re saying into your life – it will show them that you’re really listening and that their words are valued.
Keep your tone and volume level consistent
It can be easy to get carried away when we’re passionate about something, but raising your voice or speaking too quickly will only make the other person feel threatened and less likely to listen to you. On the other hand, if you speak too softly or mumble, people will find it hard to pay attention. Try to find a happy medium that allows you to communicate effectively without frightening the other person!
Stand up for yourself
There’s a big difference between standing up for yourself and being aggressive, and it’s important to learn the distinction if you want to be an assertive person. Standing up for yourself means not taking any nonsense from anyone – you’re not going to let them walk all over you anymore! But it doesn’t mean attacking them or speaking in a way that will only make them defensive and shut down communication.
Avoid using “but”
Using “but” negates everything that came before it, and it’s often used as a way to dismiss the other person’s feelings. For example, “I understand how you feel, but I don’t agree with you.” It’s much better to simply state your opinion and then move on.
Speak up for yourself every time
When you first start taking steps toward being assertive, people might be confused by how often these new interactions pop up. They might not know how to respond, or they might even try to push your boundaries by testing who you’re going to be now that you’ve gotten firm about yourself! Stand your ground every single time, and don’t back down until the other person can meet you halfway on what it is you need out of the interaction.
Use “I want” statements instead of “I need”
It’s important to remember that you’re asking for something, not demanding it. Using “I want” statements instead of “I need” will put the other person in a more cooperative frame of mind and make them more likely to help you out. For example, “I would like a glass of water” is much more polite than “I need a glass of water.”
Be prepared to compromise
No one is perfect, and that includes you! If the other person doesn’t agree with you or can’t meet your request, be prepared to compromise. Maybe they can’t give you what you want right now, but they might be willing to work on it with you over time. Remember, negotiation is key when it comes to assertiveness!
Don’t take things too personally
One of the best things about being assertive is that it allows you to have better relationships with the people in your life. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t get rejected sometimes – or that people won’t try to manipulate you into doing what they want. Remember that these things don’t have anything to do with you as a person, and don’t let them bother you!
This is a tough one, because we’re taught from a young age that it’s important to be liked and approved of by others. However, when you please others at the expense of your own happiness, you’re doing yourself a disservice. People-pleasing can also manifest as being overly accommodating or always putting other people’s needs before your own. Assertiveness means putting yourself first sometimes – and that’s not a bad thing!
When you’re excited about something, it’s easy to get carried away and say things that are aggressive or hurtful. To avoid this, try your best to remain calm when you communicate with others – taking a few deep breaths can help! This will also allow the other person to feel more comfortable around you since they won’t know what to make of your outburst of emotion!
Think before you speak
If our words reflect who we are as people, wouldn’t it make sense for us all to choose them carefully? Sometimes it’s not possible (or appropriate) to stop and think before speaking in an assertive way, but if there is time for pause then take advantage of it! This will help you to choose your words more wisely and make sure that you’re coming across the way you want to.
Practice, practice, practice!
The only way to get better at something is to practice it! The more you use assertive communication in your everyday life, the easier it will become. Soon enough, being assertive will feel like second nature to you – and people will start to take notice!
Being assertive doesn’t mean becoming an aggressive person – in fact, it’s quite the opposite! By using these tips, you can communicate better with others and get what you need without upsetting anyone or starting arguments. Remember to stay calm, think before you speak, and be prepared to compromise if necessary. If you do this, you’ll be well on your way to being the assertive person you always wanted to be!