Assertiveness is the one single trait that we should all have. It assists us in creating balance and boundaries in our day to day lives. Some people are naturally assertive, whilst others are either shy or too laid back to care. Both of these traits have positive elements to them too, however, assertiveness can be used as an effective tool to speed up progress in almost any area of your life. The key to it is having the confidence in yourself to project that emotion building inside of you. It should come from a place of kindness. If you can master this, you will find that your voice will become louder in all your social groups.
The mistake people often make is that they exude aggression instead of assertiveness. You will not have a chance at securing what you want by stamping your foot and threatening people. If you do this, or have done this, then what you hold as a result is tainted…yes…tainted. It represents your failure as a human being (harsh I know), rather than a genuine success using human skill and intelligence. Those who are guilty of this may sneer at this post and if they do, it is because they are feeling the guilt of what they have done. But fear not for you still have a chance at enlightenment.
In addition to confidence, assertiveness is also intermingled with being humble. This is an important aspect because even if you are assertive, it does not mean that you will never hear the word no. Accepting rejection in any sense, whether it be asking the bank for a loan or asking your crush out, can be rather deflating and whether we admit it or not, it grazes our pride. By consciously choosing to be neutral and pleasant in your responses, you will learn to accept rejection without emotion, which is the business like way to handle things. This does not mean that you should not try to negotiate though! A mature response will at least gain you respect which can always be shelved for later use.
For the timid crowd out there, assertiveness can be a more daunting concept. Just because someone is quiet or does not offer an opinion, it does not mean that their mind is not working overtime. They may feel it is too much aggro to say what they feel or they may fear retribution from the party to whom they are making a request, or to whom they are rejecting. Assertiveness has two primary uses-
- To get what we want
- To reject what we do not want
Without assertiveness, we allow negative people and situations to surround us and control us. If you are known as the timid one, then any increase in your assertiveness may be seen as an outburst, so it is essential that your speech is persuading and polite. This way, the person you are conversing with will feel like they were the one to bring this out of you. They will be receptive and encouraging, which paves the way for you to ask or reject what you do or do not want.
Whatever your nature, it is mandatory that you understand that being assertive is your right. As long as it is projected in a healthy, non-threatening way, nobody can point the finger and say that you were out of line. Occasionally, an assertive interaction between two people can become heated and the mature discussion will turn into a full blown argument. Think of assertiveness as a ball that floats between the different ego states.
Parent, Adult, Child
A mature discussion is where two people are acting like adults. If one berates the other they have switched to the parent, if one ‘stamps their foot’ they have switched to the child. Once you have seen a person switch states you MUST remain in your adult state of mind, otherwise you shall be swallowed into a never ending argument. If they continue to be unreasonable, then use your ‘adult’ assertiveness to politely end the conversation.
If you do struggle, try observe someone who everyone seems to respect and get along with. You will start to notice how they use their body language and words to positively control their interactions…good luck!