Learning to Become Assertive at the Right Time
Do you have a problem being assertive? If you think you do, do you know what assertiveness is in the first place?
When you are assertive, you succeed at making others understand what you need or want in a clear way. Assertiveness should not be confused with aggressiveness – you can be assertive without relying on rudeness or forcefulness to get your point across. Assertiveness is a skill that you learn through time. You will learn how to let other people know your opinions and feelings count so that others will not always have their way with you. By being assertive, you learn to be more secure yet conscious of yourself.
Nearly all people will encounter circumstances where they cannot express themselves effectively. In such situations, they will either suppress their true feelings, or become frustrated and angry, or give way to the other person yet resent the outcome. This generally makes them unhappy and feel that they cannot control the situation – and the problem remains anyway.
If these reactions to complicated situations become habitual, they may produce lack of confidence – and the problem becomes more difficult to solve.
The process of becoming assertive could be split up into four phases.
First, you could change how you respond to situations so that you create self-esteem and self-confidence. This implies amending how you perceive assertive behavior by creating a new belief system wherein you can assert yourself. You allow yourself to get angry when it is necessary. You permit yourself to say “No” at times. You must learn that there is nothing shameful about asking for help occasionally or making mistakes sometimes.
Second, you could imbibe Assertiveness Skills. Some people are comfortable doing their own research on this while others prefer to take a training course in Assertiveness Training.
Third, rely on your communication skills to express yourself. You must rely on your body language: this means keeping direct eye contact and maintaining an open and relaxed posture. You must control how you feel and respond so try to impart a facial expression that matches your message and be sure your voice is level and well-modulated. Make sure as well that your decision to be assertive is well-timed.
Fourth, remember that practice makes perfect. Try being more assertive with your family and friends – remember, being assertive does not mean being pushy so it would be wise to inform them what you are trying out. It would also be nice if they could supply honest feedback regarding your progress.
What are the consequences of not being assertive? Well, if you don’t know how to assert yourself, you may wind up feeling depressed because you were not able to express your anger. Your anger could be traced to letting others take advantage of you. Other emotions could be feeling helpless, lonely, frustrated, resentful, hopeless and thinking that you lack control over your life.
You could be asking yourself: why did I allow myself to become a victim? Then you begin to get angry with yourself for your weakness. Repressed feelings could increase in magnitude within you, leading to outbursts on your part.
If you experience anxiety when difficult situations crop up, you might start to avoid such situations. Your relationships with people at work and at home may start to suffer. People who find it difficult to assert themselves will find that it is hard to express any sort of emotion (whether negative or positive.)
When you lack the ability to express your feelings, all sorts of physiological symptoms crop up – such as high blood pressure, ulcers and headaches. This may only be relieved through learning how to be assertive with other people.