7 Steps to Assertiveness

7 Steps to Assertiveness (Without Being a Bulldozer)

Our society has a real politeness problem. So many of us know exactly what we want, but we’re too afraid of appearing demanding or pushy that we never ask for it. 

Of course, if you never ask, you’ll never receive.

The thing is, there’s a way to be assertive without coming across like a bulldozer to get what you want. It’s the midpoint between passive and aggressive and it all comes down to effective communication (doesn’t everything??). 

If you are used to sacrificing your own wants and needs so others can get their way, being assertive might be difficult for you initially. But staying quiet can keep you from progressing in many aspects of your life. You can also start to harbor resentment when your needs are constantly left unmet. 

Assertiveness is closely linked with self-confidence, which instills the sense that your voice is worthy of being heard. The people you’re surrounded with also have a strong effect on whether you feel you can speak up and express your needs or not. 

As with so many things, your experiences of the past play a strong role in how you communicate today. If you were encouraged to speak your mind and use your words when you were young, you may have an easier time of asserting your needs today. 

Remember: assertiveness and selfishness are not equivalent terms. In fact, when your needs are successfully being met, you’ll have a whole lot more of yourself to give to the people around you. 

Meeting your needs is not a zero-sum game; you’re not in competition with the people around you. There’s no element of stepping on anyone else to get what you need from them. 

The key to being assertive is really about honestly sharing what’s going on inside of you. With the recognition that whoever you’re communicating with has their own needs and perceptions. Your perspectives don’t need to intersect, as long as you respect one another. And with that, accept responsibility for the way you’re feeling without placing blame for your inner world on anyone else. 

How to Become More Assertive: 

If you want to get ahead in work and in your relationships, assertiveness is a vital communication tool. Knowing how to ask for what you need also helps you maintain a healthy mental outlook. 

Take a look at the 7 ways you can start building your assertiveness right away: 

1. Forget about winning. 

Always keep in mind that the goal is to clearly communicate what you need – not to come out on top. Ditch the need to be right because that will generally be met with opposition. So you won’t get what you need after all. Forget winning and remain perpetually open. 

2. Express your own viewpoint. 

Keep in mind that people tend to get defensive if they feel attacked. Adopt “I” language to make the point about yourself and your own needs. Keep the focus on your own perspective without placing blame on anyone else. 

3. Be clear with yourself about what you want. 

You first need to set that straight within before you can communicate it to other people. Assertiveness isn’t about musing – it’s about clearly understanding and expressing what you want. 

4. Prioritize listening

People will respect your needs far more if you in turn listen to theirs. Give others the stage and listen to their perspective in tandem with asserting your own needs. And always keep an open mind and an open heart.

5. Understand who you are. 

Take a deep dive into your inner workings and be realistic about how you communicate with others. Pinpoint your tics, your anxieties, and the situations that make you retreat. By recognizing your reactionary tendencies, you can work on ways to react that are healthier and more effective.

6. Keep it short and sweet.

Speak with clarity and conciseness to get your point across. Once you start rambling, people will lose interest. So get to the point before that happens!

7. Know when to cut your losses.

Sometimes, you’re just up against a bulldozer yourself. In that case, you’re likely not going to get anywhere, no matter how effective your communication is. 

Read your audience and recognize when it’s not worth your time – and move on to someone who will value your truth.

    If you struggle with anxious, self-critical, racing thoughts and consider yourself an overthinker then don’t worry..I’ve got you…Check out The Overthinking Toolkit.

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