Mastering Assertiveness: Why It’s Vital for Success and Relationships
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Assertiveness is expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs clearly, directly, and respectfully. It’s about standing up for yourself and your rights without being aggressive or domineering.
There are many benefits to being assertive. When you’re assertive, you’re more likely to:
* Get what you want out of life; be more able to negotiate for what you want, whether it’s a raise at work, a better car deal, or simply more time to yourself.
* Build strong relationships because you are more able to communicate effectively with others and build strong, lasting relationships.
* Feel good about yourself since you’re more likely to feel confident and in control of your life.
It’s easy for people to get confused about the difference between being assertive and aggressive. Aggression is all too often misunderstood for being assertive, when in fact, it’s just someone dominating another. There are many drawbacks to being aggressive.
Let’s look at when you’re aggressive, how you’re more likely to:
* Alienate people. Being aggressive pushes people away and makes them feel uncomfortable. You may need to ask yourself the question: how does that serve you or relationship?
* Get into conflicts. When you’re aggressive, you’re more likely to get into arguments and fights.
* Damage your reputation. When you’re aggressive, you’re more likely to damage your reputation and make it much more difficult to build strong or long-term relationships.
So, how can you become more assertive? Here are ten tips:
- Be aware of your rights. Knowing your rights includes your right to express your thoughts and feelings, be treated with respect, and meet your needs.
- Be clear about what you want. When you’re assertive, you need to be clear about what you want. Know what you’re asking for and articulate it clearly.
- Be direct. Say what you mean, and do not beat around the bush.
- Be respectful. Listen to what people have to say and value their opinions.
- Be confident. Believe in yourself and your ability to get what you want.
- Practice. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with assertiveness.
- Get help. If you’re struggling to become more assertive, many resources are available to help you. (Books, articles, and workshops).
- Be patient. Becoming more assertive takes time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep practicing, and you’ll eventually get there.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Just be the best version of yourself that you can be.
- Remember that you have a right to be assertive. Being assertive is not about being selfish or pushy. It’s often more about recognising that a boundary has to be set and you can give yourself permission to set that boundary and then ask for what you want.
When someone is being assertive, they are able to hear someone else’s point of view without losing their own. They seek to resolve conflict respectfully as opposed to refusing to allow someone else to speak. If a mutual agreement can’t be made, they can set a boundary without the need to force someone else to agree with them. Assertiveness comes with a more integrated sense of self esteem whereas aggressiveness often comes with the need to control someone or the environment. Assertive people can reflect on a situation and offer creative solutions, whereas when someone is caught up in fear (aggression) – creativity is lost.