Assertiveness is that fine line between being aggressive and passive. Aggressiveness and passiveness can be beneficial at times, but an attitude of assertiveness is most often the most effective stance to take.
When you are assertive, you are willing to make your needs known and to take responsibility for your life. There are numerous advantages to being assertive.
Here are strategies to learn to be more assertive and take ownership for your life:
1. Understand what assertiveness really means.
Some people are reluctant to be assertive because they consider it to be like being aggressive. One definition of assertiveness is, “The ability to honestly express your opinions, feelings, attitudes, and rights, without unnecessary anxiety, in a way that does not infringe upon the rights of others.”
2. Assess yourself.
Some people would benefit by being more assertive in every part of their lives. Others are assertive in some areas but lacking in others. In what part of your life are you either too passive or too aggressive?
3. Decide how you can be more assertive in those situations.
Suppose you are not assertive in your romantic relationships. Think of ways you can be more assertive. Have a plan and start working on it.
4. Take responsibility for the challenges in your life.
Passive people hope that someone else or fate will solve their challenges. Assertive people take care of their own messes. Passive people blame fate. Aggressive people blame others. Put yourself in the position where you can take credit for your ups and downs.
5. Avoid feeling responsibility for the behavior and feelings of others.
If you are constantly succumbing to the wishes of others, you feel some responsibility for their feelings. Worry about your own behavior and feelings. Others can do the same.
6. Give your opinion when asked.
When someone asks you where you want to go to dinner, or what movie you want to see, give them an answer. You are not being nice by responding, “I don’t care. Where do you want to eat?” If someone asks your opinion, give it.
7. Start saying “no” more often.
The ability to say no is the sign of a healthy relationship. It is okay to tell people no when saying yes would be too inconvenient for you. You do not gain anything by making yourself miserable. Be willing to say “no” when necessary.
Some situations are just psychologically easier to manage when you are learning to be assertive. You might speak up and give your opinion in a meeting or tell your teenager what you expect from them regarding the cleanliness of their room. Choose a couple of situations in which to practice.
9. Pay attention to your body language.
Assertiveness is not only demonstrated through your words. You broadcast your level of assertiveness with your body language. Work on your posture and eye contact for starters. Practice in front of a mirror and with your friends.
10. Build your social skills.
If you are not comfortable socially, you are likely to either be passive or aggressive, but not assertive. Social skills can be developed and provide a foundation for assertiveness. Work with a friend that has excellent social skills or get your hands on a book on this topic.
Assertiveness has several advantages. Assertive people experience less stress and anxiety. Assertiveness also provides a feeling of control over your life.
It is not easy to move from passivity or aggressiveness to assertiveness, but the advantages are considerable. Be patient, kind and loving with yourself and begin your journey to taking more responsibility for your life, emotions, and challenges.
Are you ready to make personal and spiritual changes in your life? Consider a one on one private session with Moira or a reading to free yourself from limitations and open yourself up to greater possibilities? Click here to open the door.
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