Usually, anxious people tend to behave in a non-assertive manner, or in a passive way, but this type of behavior couldn’t be more wrong and that’s why in this little article, I will give a few tips on how to be more assertive that I’m sure you’ll find very useful. On the other hand, it’s not good to behave in an aggressive manner either; you must always try to find a balance between being too nice and standing up for yourself. Because I’ve always been very shy and pretty anxious person way too often, I always had trouble supporting my views because I’ve always been afraid of not upsetting other people. Recently though, I understood that there is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself as long as you take into consideration other people’s needs, but still, yours should always come first and I hope that these tips that I will give you on how to be more assertive will only do you good. So, here goes...
1. Learn How to Give and Receive a Compliment
One of the easiest tips on how to be more assertive I could give you is to encourage you to give more compliments and to learn to accept them too. If you usually think that somebody compliments you only because they must want something from you, you couldn’t be more wrong. That’s not always the case; there are people out there who are only being nice, just like you. Accept and enjoy the compliments you receive! It will surely boost your self-esteem.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Demands
I’m sure that it has happened to you too, that when you really needed something, you didn’t request it because you were too afraid not to disturb somebody. Whenever you request something, you should always keep in mind that the other person may refuse you and that’s why you should be prepared for that. You will see that if you think like that, you will not be afraid of making demands and claiming your rights in a respectful manner. That’s nothing wrong with that!
3. Don’t Try to Change Other People!
I know that sometimes, especially when you feel betrayed, you may want to change the people around you, but despite all those feelings, you must always keep in mind that that’s just not possible. The only one who can really change is you! When your shyness or your anxiety may prevent you from standing up for your beliefs, other people may take you less seriously or they may even take advantage of you. You must not despair though! You can always learn how to behave in a more assertive way and you will see how easy it is to feel more respected.
4. Find Your Balance
You should always try to avoid thinking everything in black or white, like for example, "everything I do is good or bad," or "if people don’t love me it means that they surely hate me." All of that is definitely not true. You should remember that things are not black or white, good or bad and that there are so many shades of grey you should be aware of. Don’t focus on the negative aspects of life; be aware of the ones that make you happy!
5. Learn How to Criticize Someone in an Assertive Way
This step may be a bit difficult but with exercise and patience, you will definitely master it in no time. Criticizing someone is not a very pleasant thing to do, not for you and surely not for the other person. But, sometimes you need to do this, in order to show others what exactly do you expect from them, because most of the time, they don’t even know. You should not be afraid of saying what you’re thinking! People will appreciate it and especially, your courage.
6. Respect Other People!
You should always respect the people you interact with and especially, their feelings. You don’t like your feelings to get hurt, so don’t do that to others! You objective in every interaction is to communicate what you want and what you expect from others in a sincere and fair way. You must keep in mind that your goal in not to impose your views on other people and that you should take into consideration making some win-win compromises where both you, and the other person are the real winners.
7. Learn to Say NO
I always had problems with this simple thing; I used to find it very hard to say no to people because I always was afraid that they wouldn’t like me anymore and I’ll end up alone. That’s why I had to learn that what I was thinking wasn’t true and that in some cases is more than appropriate to just say no. Be a little bit selfish sometimes and think of yourself first! The people who really matter will understand that and they won’t mind if you won’t be able to help them from time to time. They will still cherish you for who you are, so don’t question your actions so much!
8. Learning to Be More Assertive Takes Time
Of course learning to be more assertive takes time; every important thing needs a little time. At first, you should try to behave in a more assertive manner in easy day-by-day situations, in order to get used to it and to learn the techniques you can apply when saying no or when criticizing someone, and after a while, when you’ll feel more comfortable being more assertive, you should try using these techniques in difficult situations too. I’m sure you won’t regret it and you will also feel better about yourself!
9. Express Your Point of View
In every interaction you have, you shouldn’t be afraid of expressing your point of view. Always start with "I think," "I believe" and not with "You don’t know that…" or "You may not…" Focus on what you desire and don’t be afraid to say it! People will appreciate your courage and they will consider your opinion. They won’t know what you want unless you tell them what that is.
The biggest trap of being assertive is to mistake assertiveness with aggressiveness or even with passivity. The difference between them always lies in the positive nature of assertiveness and in its neutral position. Do you behave in an assertive manner? Do you find it difficult? What other ways of being more assertive in everyday life do you know? Please share your thoughts! I can’t wait to learn from your experience!