Do you find that you often struggle to assert yourself? While being passive may avoid conflict, it can actually worsen your anxiety and leave you feeling tense and resentful over time. Assertiveness is an important social skill that can positively affect many aspects of your personal and professional relationships.
Are you sick of not speaking your mind? Let’s find out how you can start being more assertive today.
What Is Assertiveness?
Assertive communication involves:
Straightforward and open expression of your thoughts, feelings and needs
Advocating for your needs while being respectful of others
“I” statements, for example, “I really appreciate it when you help me clean up the dishes”
Making sure your needs are met while also considering the needs of others
Relationship Between Assertiveness And Anxiety
For many people with SAD, assertive communication can make them feel like they are selfish or argumentative. However, being assertive is actually a good thing. Your opinions, feelings and wants are of equal value as everybody else, and we cannot expect others to read our minds. Only by asserting yourself will you have your needs met and feel in control of your own life.
You may lack assertiveness if you often struggle to:
Say no to others’ requests without feeling guilty
Ask for what you need or want
Convey your feelings and opinions
Ask for help
Accept or give constructive criticism
Tips For Communicating Assertively
Much like learning a new instrument, learning how to be more assertive takes consistent practice and determination. Although you may feel anxious and uncomfortable in the beginning, those feelings will subside with continued practice. You’ll likely see improvements in your relationships too!
Start with an “I” statement, for example:
“I wish you would help me around the house more.”
“I enjoyed talking with you.”
“I feel hurt when you exclude me from the group.”
Own your opinion! Stand by how you feel and do not let others convince you otherwise. While you should be willing to consider new information, it doesn’t mean changing your mind because others do not agree.
Use assertive body language, including good eye contact, open posture, and speaking clearly and loud enough for others to hear you.
Think about how you will say “No” to somebody’s request, for example, “I would like to help you, but I already have a lot of work to do.”
If saying “No” outright is too difficult for you right now, practice telling someone that you’ll think about their request as a first step.
When you begin expressing yourself more assertively, people around you may not be used to it and need time to adjust. Do not take how they initially respond the wrong way! They just need some time to get used to it.
Do you want to start being more assertive and improve your relationships? BPD No More can help you. Contact us now!