Do you cringe at the idea of displeasing someone? Would you rather do what is asked of you because the idea of any possible confrontation makes your skin crawl? Does “’NO” seem the hardest word to say? If you answered “yes” to these questions you may benefit from learning some assertiveness skills.
Asserting yourself requires you to recognize your worth as a person and expect to be treated with respect and dignity. You understand that you should express your opinions and feelings even if they may be unfavorable or disliked by another.
People who struggle to be assertive often report feeling burdened with thoughts such as; “What if the other person gets mad at me?” or “What if they tell me I am wrong and no longer like me?“ Nonassertive people often have a magnified fear that a person may react poorly such as yelling at them or talking negatively about them to others. This fear may have originated from past relationships where someone displayed this type of behavior toward them. This may have resulted in feeling a lot of anxiety surrounding communication. In a personal relationship, both parties must acknowledge and allow one to express themselves.
How do you learn to be assertive? First, it is important to have awareness when someone is denying your rights. It may also be that you may need to work on your relationship with yourself to assure you have healthy self-esteem and confidence so you can be your own advocate. You can practice using assertive communication styles through role playing. You can practice this with someone you feel comfortable with. Use select words such as “I feel” or “I prefer” as these statements demonstrate your right to express your feelings and opinions. Start asserting yourself with less intimidating people or situations and gradually work toward your more feared encounters. You may want to seek out a mental health professional to explore underlying issues such as low self-esteem, anxiety, depressive disorders or trauma. You may need counseling on how to leave an unhealthy relationship.
Developing assertiveness skills is a process, and be patient with yourself. Once you learn how to do this you will notice that you are attracted to and attract healthier people in your life which will result in more fulfilling relationships. Being assertiveness allows people to feel empowered and this will reduce anxiety and help you live a more peaceful existence.
If you or someone you know is looking for help with being assertive, please contact me to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.