Assertiveness Isn’t an argument over being passive or aggressive but it’s all about being present in a relationship.According to Randy Paterson, Ph.D, in his book The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships he expands on this saying;
“In the passive style, all the world is allowed on stage but for you — your role is to be the audience and supporter for everyone else. In the aggressive style, you’re allowed on stage but you spend most of your time shoving the others off, like in a lifelong sumo match. With the assertive style, everyone is welcomed onstage. You are entitled to be a full person, including your uniqueness, and so are others.”
The idea that a person has to be strong by showing off to others or fending them off isn’t being assertive. That’s aggressiveness and being stupid.But being able to distinguish between the two is still a good skill to have. Through that, we learn what assertiveness actually is.It’s that uniqueness, but also being able to satisfy your needs. To do this, being assertive is a matter of articulating those needs amongst other things we shall discuss.
Improve Assertiveness By Starting Small
Squashing whatever a person wants from you and doing things solely for themself,that’s not assertiveness but mere selfishness, and aggressiveness. Instead, my advice to you is if you want to improve assertiveness: work small.
This means instead of talking about squad goals or discussing tougher subjects with people, maybe learn to say no to a few things. That or make quick decisions for where you want to be seated in a restaurant.Assertiveness is about being clear about your needs at the time and making them clear.
Guilt will hit you Learn To Overcome It
Assertiveness does have it’s drawbacks. Sometimes it makes you look bad. And if you’re someone who was passive and is trying to improve assertiveness, this will be a struggle you need to overcome.One method I’ve learned is to communicate your intentions and reasoning. Explain why you think that and tell the person you’re open to understanding and learning more. Who knows, maybe someone comes up with a better idea than you?
From this light, I see assertiveness as being able to state what you want and to tell people “this is what I want. If you offer something better, let’s hear it. If not, then this is my offer. Deal or no deal?”From this stance, if someone isn’t willing to help you, you can move on.
Being as clear as you can is crucial to improve assertiveness. This seems obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many times people aren’t always clear about what they want. Some people make assumptions and think that people already know.Again. Be clear, honest, respectful, and specific about your needs and views.
One other good strategy to improve assertiveness is to use “I” statements. Using that kind of statement puts people less on the defensive. Not only that but it’s easier to express yourself this way and doesn’t make you sound superior or intimidating.
Know The Difference Between Being a nuisance And Being Assertive.
One other thing to consider is knowing when you’re being assertive and when you’re being a nuisance . I feel that expanding on this topic is key because people can have misconceptions over what an assertive person is.If you’ve been reading up to this point, being assertive isn’t about being aggressive and trying to screw over everyone to get what you want. Genuine assertiveness looks different.
One other way to describe it is that being assertive is a communication skill. It’s listening, but also standing up for your values and to communicate them clearly to others.Here are some other qualities that you can work towards to improve assertiveness:
1)Assertive people listen actively. They try to understand people’s points of view.
2)Assertive people know their goals and aren’t afraid to state them.
3)Assertive people are calm. Even when people disagree with them, they won’t raise their voice or try to dominate the conversation.
4)They use “I”. I mentioned it already but it’s worth mentioning again. Remind yourself to use it and make a point of asking yourself “What do I want in life?”
Naturally, moving away from those kinds of aspects you’ll be losing what being assertive is all about.
Assertiveness Is Confidence
At the end of the day, assertiveness is a confidence game. How confident are you with your own needs? How confident are others about those values and what you think?Whenever you’re being assertive, you’re being direct and honest with yourself and towards the other person. You’re going into a conversation expecting other people to not know what you want. You’re merely taking the time now to let them know.To be able to do that, you need confidence in your skills and abilities. You don’t want to leave room for low self-esteem issues, doubt, or hesitation.
Consider Your Communication Style
As I’ve mentioned this far, you want to be calm, respectful, and use “I” statements.But some other crucial factors are word choice and the body language that you use.
To stress again, never expect people to know what you are implying or presuming. You also want to be sitting or standing confidently if you are talking with people. Look people in the eye, smile or keep a neutral expression, lean in a bit. These are signs of confidence and assertiveness.And of course, whenever you want to make something clear, speak up.
Improve Assertiveness By Setting Boundaries
Assertiveness also has a level of tolerance. When is a good time to move on from someone or something? When is it worth it to continue?Recognizing this is devoting time to understanding your values followed up by putting them into practice.Of course, I can’t help you with those values, but here are some scenarios you can ask yourself. Answering these scenarios can determine your tolerance and help you narrow down values:
To determine how patient you are, consider the following: What job would you consider? A job that is easy to apply to that pays at an average rate or a job where you need to go through a lot of hoops but pays higher?Patience is one boundary and related to assertiveness as it gives you a rough idea of how long you’ll go with a deal or an arrangement. While every person’s scenario is different, knowing how long someone will string you along can help you. It’ll help you to determine when to assert yourself.
To determine how generous you are, ask yourself how far would you help someone in need? Would you devote a lot of time to helping them or offer assistance here and there?Generosity plays a role in determining how lenient you are with your demands. Again, each person’s needs are different depending on each situation. That being said, it can give you an idea of when it’s best for you to assert yourself and what you won’t tolerate in terms of charity or offering help.
Some other things to consider with values is what kind of people you prefer to deal with? Whenever you are conversing with people and discussing business or other important life decisions do make a point of judging their character a little bit.At the end of the day, we like working and talking with people that appeal to our own values. If you feel uneasy or skeptical about someone, you can pry and get to know them more or move on. No matter what, you are sharing your stage. Make sure you have the right performers that make you excel too.
Improve Assertiveness By realising You’ll Make Mistakes
One other aspect of assertiveness is that it can make someone feel excited. After all, you are prioritizing your own needs. Needs that you highly value. The problem with that is that it can be confused for aggression.We need to keep our cool and to express ourselves calmly, but also recognize some of you won’t consider it.
Reading about it and actually being in the heat of the moment are two very different things. No matter what though, recognize that you might screw up. That’s okay. Remember to keep moving forward regardless.
Moving On Is Cool
Knowing your values is one thing, but it’s another to integrate them and to act on them. Moving on can be difficult in certain cases.The point is that rely on your values and consider whether or not it’s worth proceeding. If not, make a point of reminding yourself that there are other options. No matter how dire the situation is, there is always a way to get out of the situation. Recognize that you need to stick to your values and know when to soften them, stick to them, or move on because all of that takes practice.
Improve Assertiveness Is Another Skill
To improve assertiveness, you’ll need to practice it regularly. Like I said before, start off small before using it in more serious scenarios. Either that or devote some time to improving your self-confidence and belief in yourself.After all, confidence and assertiveness go hand in hand to your growth!