Being more assertive in life is a skill that everyone needs to develop, the earlier on, the better. Many people confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness. They are similar but very different.
- Assertiveness is defined as confident and forceful behavior
- Aggressiveness is defined as hostile or violent behavior.
Both are forms of behavior, but assertive people tend to be considerate of others while aggressive people take what they can without regard for anyone else.
When you are a more assertive person, you tend to have more self-confidence, you’re less stressed and a problem solver. You confidently bring an issue to light but also offer suggestions and remedies to fix it. You become a doer.
Nothing is easy in life, and that goes for becoming more assertive. The trick is to develop the skill without being an ass about it. Unfortunately, the society we live in tends to take assertive women and put them in a category that rhymes with rich, and that’s just not fair. You be you, ladies, us men should have adjusted years ago. We’re cavemen at heart so it may take a while.
Here are 11 tips to become more assertive in life:
Tell people what you want
Sounds easy right? Just speak your mind. Only you know what you want, and you need to let people know. The key is to do it confidently. If you wait for a raise, you may never get it. Take the initiative and speak up. Believe in yourself and others will believe in you. Stick up for yourself and what you deserve. Don’t sell yourself short.
You deserve value
It is crucial to gain an understanding of who you are and how you value yourself. This understanding is what builds your self-belief and confidence. It’s vital, however not to go over the top with self-confidence. Your needs and feelings are necessary, just like everyone else, but not more important. Don’t be “that” guy/girl.
You can only control you
Remember that you can only control your behavior, not other people’s. You can’t predict how someone else is going to react to what you’re saying, so stay as calm as possible. You have the right to speak your mind, as well. Just don’t fly off the handle because no one will listen to anything you’ve said from that exact second forward.
Not every issue you deal with or confront will be easy, and it’s OK to be angry but always try to remain positive. Don’t dogpile on but instead offer solutions. Keep your emotions in check at all times.
Listen to criticism
Criticism can be hard for many people to hear, but you have to able to take the good with the bad. It’s also OK to say you don’t agree with the criticism. State your reasons why but remain as positive as you can while doing so.
Know your limits and know what you can and can’t do. If you’re asked to take on more but realize it’s not possible, say no. Use this cautiously though if it’s a business scenario. If you are always saying no, you won’t be considered a team player. Always offer solutions if you say no.
Make use of assertive words (credit to Mind Tools for these)
Start with “I”
“I should be considered for a raise due to my success in surpassing my sales goal by 20% last year.”
Call a timeout
Don’t rush to say something just to say something. Let the person know you need time to think about it.
“Well, honey you caught me off guard about the downpayment you left for a new Mercedes. Let me have a few minutes to think about this and get back to you.”
Show some feelings (would ya)
Understand how others are feeling but let them know what you need.
“I know that you’re all tired, but we must finish this project before the big meeting tomorrow.”
Choose your verbs wisely
Use words that make your needs clear, like these gems in place of their wimpy counterparts:
- “will” in place of “could.”
- “want” in place of “need.”
- “choose to” in place of “need to.”
Prepare what you want to say
Think about what you want to say ahead of time. Don’t wing it. Be direct and even practice what you want to say.